6 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

October 21st, 2016 No Comments

Prevent the Flu for Seniors and Older Adults New Jersey

Fall Starts Flu Season

As the leaves change colors and cooler temperatures cause us to reach for a light jacket, we can expect flu season to make its grand arrival. Fever, chills, a runny nose, and fatigue make getting the flu at any age a miserable experience. But for adults age 65 and older, catching the flu virus can lead to serious health complications including pneumonia and death. During the flu season seniors are more at risk of contracting the flu virus due to their weakening immune system.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), an estimated 54% to 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States are among adults age 65 and older. For aging adults, this time of year brings about serious health concerns, which is why taking steps to prevent the flu is critical. Below are 6 key flu prevention tips to keep yourself or older people from contracting the flu.

6 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

  • Getting an annual flu shot is the first line of defense to preventing the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone age six months and older get the flu vaccine as soon as it’s available in your area. Those that are 65 and older can receive any injectable flu vaccine in the regular or high dose that has been approved for their age group. The high dose vaccine is recommended because it was specifically designed for adults 65 and older and is associated with a stronger immune system response. Talk with your doctor or other medical care professional about which is the best option for you.
  • For those who are at an increased risk of contracting the flu, like seniors and small children, it’s important that everyone they come in contact with daily get vaccinated as well, including close family and caregivers.
  • Good hygiene is always very important to avoid catching or spreading any virus, but especially important to avoiding the flu. The flu is highly contagious and spreads through coughing and sneezing, so it’s important that you cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Make sure you and your loved ones wash their hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers after touching certain surfaces, doorknobs, and stairwell railings in public places.
  • Maintaining a healthy lifestyle of exercise, eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of sleep can help boost your immune system. Continuing a healthy lifestyle even after flu season is beneficial to your overall health year round.
  • Seek medical treatment immediately if you start to experience flu-like symptoms. Although there are a number of over-the-counter antiviral medications you can take to prevent the onset of the virus, consult a medical professional for the best course of action. A few common signs of the flu include a sore throat, runny nose, body aches, or chills and a fever. The flu virus can present itself with or without a fever in addition to the most common symptoms. Even if you think you only have a common cold, it’s wise to take extra precaution during flu season and seek medical advice if you’re experiencing symptoms.
  • One of the simplest ways to prevent contracting the flu is to avoid close contact with anyone who’s sick or showing signs of the flu.

By taking these preventative steps during flu season this year, you and your loved ones can enjoy the fall and winter months’ flu-free.

If you have an aging loved one who needs help completing day-to-day chores, managing medications, and/or requires personal hygiene assistance, contact Visiting Angels. Our Angels help older adults and seniors throughout Mercer and Burlington Counties throughout New Jersey maintain independence in their homes while improving their quality of life by providing individualized, non-medical, in-home care.

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