According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) individuals over the age of 65 and older are at a higher risk to complications from the flu than other age cohorts. The flu shot is an excellent way to prevent older adults from contracting the virus.
For seniors in need of assistance in their daily living, it becomes imperative that their caregivers take flu symptoms seriously and provide an aggressive treatment plan. Here are several tips if you’re a senior dealing with the flu.
At The First Sign of Flu Symptoms, Go To The Doctor
Seniors should make an appointment with their physician as soon as they notice they aren’t feeling well. As the virus progresses, it may be more and more difficult to get out of the house. Seeing a doctor on the onset of the infection allows the individual to start taking anti-viral drugs as soon as possible, which can lessen the effects of the symptoms.
Every doctor will tell you to rest when you are ill; however, this is even more true for seniors dealing with the flu. Constant bed rest will give ample amount of time to sleep and can ward off fall risks brought on by medication or symptoms.
For seniors in the care of someone else, due to the breakdown in the skin tissue of older adults extended bed stays can increase the risk of pressure ulcers. It is essential for caregivers to rotate the individual every two hours so that the skin remains healthy.
Dehydration is a life-threatening complication of the flu in older adults. Often seniors are hospitalized just to be given an IV to rehydrate. Seniors dealing with the flu should continuously be drinking. While the flu may take away thirst offering a variety of drinks like water, juice, and tea keeps things interesting, and they become more easily enticed to drink. Also, try adding water to broth-based soups.
Get The Pneumococcal Vaccine
A severe complication of contracting the flu is the risk that it progresses into pneumococcal virus or pneumonia. Pneumonia is a life-threatening virus, and older adults are particularly susceptible. Getting the Pneumococcal vaccine may prevent the flu from worsening into pneumonia.
A decreased appetite or chronic fatigue while sick may make it difficult to want to eat throughout the day. However, calorie intake is critical for seniors and by not eating many seniors run the risk of losing weight. Soups and oatmeal are easy to swallow and don’t take much effort to make. You can even try adding butter to the dish to increase the number of calories.
Practicing good health habits and receiving the necessary vaccines are great ways to prevent seniors from contracting the flu. But catching the flu is not always preventable, so being proactive in the treatment plan can be the best way to avoid serious complications of prolonged sickness and lessens the effects of the flu symptoms until they start feeling better.