The weather is changing and temperatures are dropping in the Chicagoland area, and flu season is upon us. In Northbrook, Homewatch CareGivers wants to ensure that everyone, especially seniors, take extra steps to take care of themselves and start flu prevention efforts.
Adults 65 and older present a greater risk of facing complications from the flu due to weaker immune systems, according to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The National Foundation for Infectious Disease also states that conditions such as diabetes, COPD and cancer in seniors can also lower immunity and increase risk for the flu. The CDC reports that nearly 70-85% of seasonal-flu related deaths and 55-70% of seasonal-flu related hospitalizations have been seniors 65 years and older.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. The CDC found that getting a flu vaccine can decrease chances of catching the flu by 40-60%. Even if a senior contracts the flu, the flu vaccine can help to reduce the effects of the flu and help avoid any serious consequences, such as hospitalization. Caregivers for seniors are also highly encouraged to get a flu vaccine.
Other steps that seniors can take to help prevent the flu include:
- Avoid contact with other people who are sick
- Wash hands frequently
- Clean and disinfect surfaces regularly
- Get plenty of rest, try to get 7-9 hours of sleep, especially when exhibiting signs of a cold or virus
- Minimize touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Maintain a healthy diet to boost immunity
- Drink plenty of fluids
Symptoms of the flu in seniors include:
- Dizziness or feeling light-headed
- Loss of appetite
- Worsening of chronic heart or lung condition
If you or a senior loved one presents any of the above symptoms or appear to have the flu, see a doctor immediately. Ignoring these symptoms may lead to pneumonia, dehydration or even death.