Posted on Mar 27, 2020 in Senior Tips
It’s no secret that seniors are at heightened risk of developing serious complications as a result of flu but why is this?
Well, it’s largely a direct result of your immune system degrading and weakening as you age. This is natural and there’s nothing much you can about it.
The severity of flu season varies from year to year. Most seasons, though, individuals over 65 feel the heaviest impact. Anywhere from 75% to 85% of flu-related deaths occur in this demographic. Seniors also account for more than half of all hospitalizations linked to flu.
If you’re in your golden years, you’re at increased risk of flu and its potentially lethal complications and this is largely due to the diminishing efficiency of your immune system.
There’s some good news, though…
Follow these simple steps and you’ll stay protected against this seasonal scourge without too much trouble.
Your primary line of defense should be an annual flu shot.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends getting vaccinated before the end of October. If you miss this window of opportunity, it’s still worth getting a shot any time before January.
Adults over 50 who received flu shots were 57% less likely to be hospitalized with flu.
There are two vaccines specifically developed for individuals over 65:
If you want to stay healthy during flu season, make sure all your vaccinations are up to date.
You should make sure that you get the pneumococcal vaccination to safeguard against meningitis, pneumonia, and any other infections of your bloodstream. All of these diseases can come about as a direct result of flu. Consequences can be dire and damaging for older adults.
So remember, you need more vaccinations than just a simple flu shot to keep yourself as safe as you can.
All of this effort is in vain if you can’t organize friends and family into getting vaccinated.
Uncertain where to go for a flu shot? Go here to search for your nearest vaccination center by zip code.
Adopt healthy habits as standard but remain especially vigilant over the flu season.
Use a tissue or handkerchief and cover your mouth when coughing.
Wash and sanitize your hands regularly.
Eat healthy, whole foods, get regular exercise, and make sure you sleep well to give your immune system a boost and keep the flu at bay.
This might seem obvious but do your best to cut down any contact with sick people. Discourage anyone unwell from visiting and do what you can to avoid all contact with anyone likely to infect you.
Despite your best efforts, you might end up experiencing flu-like symptoms – more on those directly below – so make sure you seek immediate medical advice.
Your doctor can monitor for any likely complications while deciding whether or not you need some antiviral drugs.
More about those symptoms, then…
As a senior, you’re at increased risk of complications causing much more serious problems so you should always contact your healthcare provider right away.
CDC recommends all seniors suspected of infection are treated promptly. What should you look out for, then?
It’s possible to be infected and present respiratory symptoms with no trace of fever.
Treatment should be initiated as swiftly as possible since antiviral drugs work most effectively if started within 48 hours of symptoms beginning.
You’ll need a prescription for antiviral drugs to help stop the virus from creating more viruses within your body. These symptoms should lessen while recovery speeds up.
CDC recommends four FDA-approved flu drugs for 2020.
Anyone experiencing the following warning signs should seek immediate medical assistance.
We’ve hopefully cleared up any doubts you had about protecting yourself against the flu as a senior. If you’re still confused about what you should do next, get in touch with our friendly team here at Landmark Senior Living. We’re happy to help in any way we can from giving you some pointers about flu vaccines to arranging a tour of an assisted living community near you.