Far from only sniffles and a cough, the flu can strike older adults hard. With a vulnerable immune system, individuals over age 65 are especially at risk of complications from the flu, which can be rather serious. As we enter into flu season, Compassionate Nursing Services provides these important influenza facts to help keep you and the seniors you love prepared for – and protected against – the flu.
Signs and Symptoms
Even though colds are rampant around this time of year as well, there are several telling differences between a standard cold and the flu. As an example, a cold can cause:
- Runny nose and sneezing
- Coughing and sore throat
Influenza can also produce these symptoms, but typically includes:
- Fever, aches, and chills
- Fatigue and weakness
- Discomfort in the chest
Senior loved ones presenting these symptoms should see the physician immediately; an anti-viral medication might help to decrease the severity and duration associated with the flu if taken in the first 48 hours immediately after symptoms begin.
70% of hospitalizations and 85% of deaths from the flu occur in those ages 65 and older, frequently from the results of flu-related complications, such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Be sure to locate prompt medical help for a senior demonstrating these signs and symptoms:
- Green, yellow, or gray mucous when coughing
- Chest pain
- Fatigue and difficulty breathing
- Reduction in body temperature
The flu may also bring about sinus and ear infections, swelling of the brain, heart, and muscles, and can worsen pre-existing conditions such as asthma.
As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and luckily, an effective means of preventing the flu is available and strongly recommended for older adults: a high-dose version of the flu vaccine. September is the recommended time for you to ensure the seniors in your life receive their flu vaccines, to guarantee the highest amount of protection during flu season (October through May).
Further protective measures include:
- Keep up a healthy lifestyle, which includes regular exercise, wise dietary choices, and reduced stress
- Wash hands regularly and keep hands away from the face
- Steer clear of crowds and high-traffic areas during flu season
- Keep the home environment thoroughly clean and sanitized
Compassionate Nursing Services, the senior care St. Louis experts, helps keep cherished older adults safe and healthy in many ways as well! We’re readily available to provide transportation for seniors to obtain their flu shots, attend medical appointments, prepare balanced meals, assist with housecleaning, and so much more.
Reach out via our online contact form, or call us at 314-432-4312 for a free in-home consultation in St. Louis and the surrounding communities, and discover a safer, healthier and much more pleasant way of life for the older adults you love!