Adults who are 65 years or older are at risk of serious flu-related complications if they get sick, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC states that because seniors’ immune systems become weaker with age, they are more likely to contract the flu and have it become more severe. They estimate that about 70 to 85 percent of flu-related deaths that occur in the United States occur in those who are 65 and over and that seniors also account for between 50 and 70 percent of the total people hospitalized because of it. Fortunately, seniors can protect themselves from getting sick, and caregivers can stop the spread of sickness to their loved one by taking a few safety precautions.
According to Yolanda White, Administrator at The Village at Summerville, a life plan community in Summerville, SC, the flu is not something seniors and caregivers should overlook. “Because of all the health risks associated with the flu, from hospitalization and an increase in the risks of heart attacks and strokes to even death, people should take care to ensure they are vaccinated, healthy and not sick,” says Yolanda. “While you may think this is just a common issue, it’s so much more, as many of those who have had it will tell you. Those who have the flu may experience a fever, runny or stuffy nose, a cough, body aches, chills and extreme fatigue. They may also have headaches, vomiting or diarrhea. For seniors, symptoms can be even more severe.”
As seniors age, it’s important to realize that the risks of not getting vaccinations become higher. In fact, not getting certain vaccinations and antiviral drugs can be deadly. According to the CDC, if your loved one has asthma, diabetes or chronic heart disease, they may be at a higher risk of serious illness if they get the flu – including pneumonia. In order to prevent these complications and ensure seniors stay healthy, it’s important to get vaccinated and know effective ways to protect seniors from getting the flu.
How to Protect and Prevent Seniors from Getting the Flu
Whether you are a senior who wants to prevent the flu or a caregiver who is looking for ways to protect their loved one, there are plenty of ways you can fight back against it. Consider some of the following methods that the CDC suggests.
- Get the flu shot. As one of the best ways to prevent or at least lessen the severity of the flu, all seniors should get vaccinated. Talk to your doctor about which option will be right for you and be sure to get vaccinated each year in order to protect yourself and those around you.
- If you notice flu symptoms, take action. If you begin to experience flu-like symptoms, the CDC states that you should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, unless you are seeking medical attention or need other necessities. Don’t wait to see a doctor if you have health issues such as diabetes, asthma, heart or lung disease, as antiviral drugs can help to stop further health complications.
- Keep away from others who are sick. If one of your loved ones has or may have the flu, resist the urge to take care of them. Being near someone who is sick, even if you have received the shot, can still cause you to get the flu depending on what strain they have. If you had plans to visit them, try video chatting, calling or rescheduling instead, as it’s much safer for both of you. Chances are, your friend doesn’t want to entertain anyway. Save the visit for a better time.
- If visitors are sick, they should stay home. Do not let anyone visit you who has been sick recently or may be sick now. Try to make sure any visitors you do get have had the vaccination, caregivers included – although many are required to or else they have to wear a mask. While you may think this is a rude request, they will understand as no one wants to be the reason you get sick.
- Wash your hands often. Not only does this help to hinder the spread of germs, but by washing your hands, you are helping to keep yourself safe from unnecessary sickness. After coughing, sneezing or even visiting a public place where people may be sick, it’s a good idea to wash your hands. The CDC states you should also try to keep your hands away from your mouth, nose and eyes.
- Clean commonly touched surfaces. One of the best things you can do besides washing your hands often is to clean surfaces like doorknobs, refrigerator handles, countertops, faucets and toilet handles.If you are in public and are shopping with a cart, find a station where you can wipe down the handles. Many grocery stores offer disinfectant wipes near the carts so you can stop the spread of germs. While it may seem obvious, many people don’t clean these surfaces often enough. If others who are sick have touched them, it can increase your likelihood of getting what they had.
For more information about preventing the flu or for tips on how to lessen its severity, call the caregivers at The Village at Summerville. We would be happy to help keep you or your loved one healthy, happy and safe this flu season. Please contact us today!
Enriching Senior Living
Welcome to The Village at Summerville, an 84-acre Life Plan Community in Summerville, South Carolina, just minutes from historic downtown Charleston. From magnificent trees, walking trails, small ponds, fountains and a peaceful prayer garden to multiple indoor retreats – bungalow-style patio homes, brick cottages, apartments, a wellness center and chapel – you’ll discover just how enriching senior living can be.
Longevity & Innovation as a Life Plan Community
The Village at Summerville is a Life Plan Community, offering a wide range of senior lifestyles and services including independent living, assisted living, skilled nursing care and short-term rehabilitation.
We believe a Life Plan Community should allow future planning and living to merge. Having a plan in place – and the security of access to a continuum of healthcare services – grants residents the freedom to live life to the fullest.
A Legacy of Service
As one of the Presbyterian Communities of South Carolina, The Village at Summerville is a compassionate Christian ministry committed to enriching the quality of life for seniors of all faiths. Built on the values of relationships, service, teamwork and excellence, we ensure our mission and faith are honored daily. While striving to create the highest quality of retirement lifestyles for our residents, we work each day to enrich the spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being of seniors and their families, with our deep heritage leading the way.
Learn more about The Village at Summerville. Contact us today!