This is the official Evolve Senior Solutions, LLC blog by Danielle Harris.
Influenza or ‘flu’ can occur year-round.
The CDC reports this time of year is called “flu season.”
Flu viruses are most common during the fall and winter months. Flu season begins around October and November, with a peak in December and February. Many people do not realize that flu season can last as late as May.
The flu causes mild to severe illness, but can at times become fatal. It is important to understand that the flu virus is a contagious respiratory illness and can be serious for everyone.
People over the age of 65, are considered high risk, for flu-related hospitalization and complications can be particularly high, even death can be a result.
For people over the age of 65, a natural deterioration of the immune system occurs, "immunosenescence". The deterioration of the immune system makes for the high risk of complications from flu in adults age 65 years and older. With a impaired immune system, it makes it harder for older adults to #FightFlu; this also impacts the response to the flu vaccine.
Hence, there are custom designed flue vaccines, for people over the age of 65.
Another group of people important to discuss, are those people living with chronic conditions. People living with chronic conditions are at higher risk for complications and even death due to flu.
In helping your loved one recovery, it is important to understand those over the age of 65 and with chronic conditions may take long to recover from flu than expected or even wanted. But as I always say, as long as the recovery is good and upward, the time is not relative. I have seen many patients push themselves to recovery quickly and had setbacks, at times resulting in re-admittance to the hospital.
During the recovery period, older adults and people with chronic conditions may be at an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular problems. So,please be mindful and plan to spend sometime with your loved one as they recover.
Unfortunately, even after a complete recovery from the flu, older adults may never fully regain their independence, which will significantly impact your life as a family member and their lifestyle. In these instances, it is best to keep open communication with discharge planners, early on in the acute and rehabilitation stay.
So, what can we do to #FightFlu, one thing is discussing with your Primary Care Provider, if the flu vaccine is right for you and what time of the year, should you receive the vaccine.
Let us discuss the vaccine. Flu viruses are constantly changing. Therefore, scientists who create flu vaccines, predict which strains will be most prevalent for the upcoming flu season.
It is possible to get the flu while getting the vaccine. Flu vaccines fight certain strains of the flu that are expected for the season. Once you receive the flu vaccine, it can take a couple weeks to really "work”; which means you are at risk for contracting the flu, if you encounter someone with the flu.
There are very few people who shouldn’t get the flu vaccine. Those are:
• Babies less than 6 months old
• Those with a history of Guillain-Barre syndrome within the past six months
• Those with a life-threatening allergy to a component of the flu vaccine
You can #FightFlu by:
- Avoid contact with people who are sick.
- Wash your hands. Use soap and water to keep hands clean, use hand sanitizer, when soap and water are not available.
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Cover your mouth and nose. The flu is spread by coughing, sneezing, and unclean hands.
- Do not touch your nose and eyes.
- Keep your living area and care clean, disinfect surfaces often.
- Prevent illness by getting sleep, staying active, eating well, and staying hydrated.
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