Seniors at Risk for the Flu
Posted on November 05, 2012
in Senior Safety & Independence
Updated 8/4/15 11:02am | Alert1 wants to help seniors keep
immune during the coming flu season. Doctors
warn seniors to stay vigilant in their walk with health. It’s especially
important to take care of yourself as the flu virus peaks during the fall and
winter months. As a senior, you are at a higher risk for catching this bug.
Your risk also increases if you have chronic health conditions. Senior
caregivers play an important role in flu prevention and detection. In this
article we’ll equip you with all you need to know to keep healthy this winter.
most people know, your immune system weakens as you age. But there are things seniors
can do to help protect themselves. The seasonal flu can become a very dangerous
virus resulting in dehydration and possibly pneumonia. 90% of all flu-related
deaths and more than 50% of flu related hospitalizations arise in people age 65
and over. In 2015, predominant strains in the flu virus (H3N2) made seniors
Seniors and the Flu Vaccine
The flu vaccine is available before and during flu
season at any doctor’s office and many pharmacies. If you’re a senior
with medicare you receive annual coverage for the flu vaccine, during flu season.
Getting the flu vaccine before the flu season is the best way to protect
yourself and protect others by eliminating the possibilities of spreading it to
your spouse, children or friends. Also if you receive the vaccine early you don’t
have to be concerned about any shortages or availability for the general
potential side effects that occur among seniors that receive the flu vaccine. It’s
common for soreness, redness or swelling at the injection site. Older adults
may develop a mild fever, feel body aches or feel fatigued after getting the
flu shot. It’s unlikely for you to develop life-threatening health effects from
the vaccine. Any side effects of the shot are much milder when compared to seniors
that actually contract the flu. However if you have trouble breathing, hives,
feel weak or dizzy or have a fast heartbeat you want to seek immediate medical
There are two common forms of the flu vaccine. The regular flu
shot and the high-dose flu shot (for people 65 and up) both protect from three
flu viruses. The high-dose shot will produce a stronger response from your
immune system and increase protection level. Ask your health provider about which
vaccine is right for you.
Other Flu Prevention Methods for Seniors
can protect themselves with more than just the vaccine during flu season.
Follow some of these simple, everyday steps:
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. If you don’t have
access, use other preventions such as hand sanitizers.
2. Avoid spreading germs. Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
3. If you are experiencing flu like symptoms, avoid contact with people until
24 hours after your symptoms have stopped.
4. Avoid contact with sick people and practice good health habits. Eat healthy,
hydrate yourself, exercise and get plenty of sleep.
Symptoms of the Flu
Flu related symptoms include fever, cough, body aches, headache, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue and chills. It’s also common for seniors to have diarrhea and vomiting. Occasionally the flu affects your respiratory system without symptoms of fever. Seniors can contract the flu virus outside of the winter season, but the illness won’t be as severe as during the colder months of the year. If you happen to get the flu, contact your doctor immediately. Since seniors are considered high risk when they contract the flu, doctors will normally prescribe anti-viral medications (Tamiflu and Relenza) to help relieve the symptoms.
Alert1 wants you to stay well and
avoid getting the flu this winter. The best line of defense against the flu
virus is getting vaccinated. For older adults looking for more protection, a senior medical
alert system can call for immediate help when you’re ill. Senior help
buttons are fast to respond. At the push of a button you’ll get all the help
you need. Our emergency
command center agents stay with you until help arrives.
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