Far from merely sniffles and a cough, the flu can hit the elderly hard. With a compromised immune system, people over age 65 are particularly vulnerable to complications from the flu, which can be rather serious. As we enter into flu season, Absolute Companion Care aims to assist you and the seniors you love to be prepared for – and protected against – influenza.
Signs and Symptoms
Even though colds are widespread around this time of year as well, there are telling differences between a common cold and the flu. For example, a cold can result in:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Coughing and sore throat
Influenza can also produce these symptoms, but often includes:
- Fever, aches, and chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Discomfort in the chest
Older adults showing these signs and symptoms should see the physician as soon as possible; an anti-viral medication might help to reduce the severe nature and length of the flu if utilized in the first 48 hours after symptoms begin.
70% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths from the flu occur in people ages 65 and older, in many cases from the results of flu-related complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Be sure to obtain immediate medical assistance for an older adult who is exhibiting these symptoms:
- Green, yellow, or gray mucous when coughing
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and difficulty breathing
- Decline in body temperature
The flu can likewise result in sinus and ear infections, swelling of the brain, heart, and muscles, and can aggravate pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and thankfully, a successful means of preventing the flu is available and is recommended for older adults: a high-dose form of the senior flu vaccine. September is the perfect opportunity to ensure the seniors in your life receive their flu vaccines, to ensure the maximum degree of protection when flu season gets going (October through May).
Further preventative measures also include:
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle, including regular physical exercise, wise nutritional choices, and reduced stress
- Wash hands frequently and keep hands away from the face
- Steer clear of crowds of people and high-traffic areas during flu season
- Keep the home environment thoroughly clean and sanitized
Absolute Companion Care can help keep cherished older adults safe and healthy in a variety of ways as well! Our compassionate caregivers in Baltimore and the surrounding areas are readily available to provide transportation for older adults to get their flu shots, for medical appointments, to prepare balanced meals, assist with housecleaning, and so much more.