Flu season is a frustrating time of year for many seniors, especially those who are prone to illness or pneumonia from chest infections. As of December 20, 2020, medical experts were already seeing cases of the flu in Jefferson County, Alabama, and other areas of the state. Those numbers have grown to high levels throughout the state. In the past year, the concerns about COVID-19, combined with those of the flu, have caused a significant amount of stress. Fortunately, it is possible to take steps to stay healthy. For those who have questions about doing this, please reach out to SeniorSmart today at 205.460.1124.
What Are Some Ways to Avoid Getting the Flu?
The way seniors can avoid the flu is the same as preventing the spread of COVID-19, the common cold, and other airborne illnesses: by keeping good hygiene. The most important thing that anyone can do during the cold and flu season is to wash their hands and stay home if they aren’t feeling well. This helps minimize the transmission of various types of viruses and especially the flu, RSV, whooping cough, and other respiratory illnesses. People transmit these conditions by sneezing, coughing, or touching with unclean hands.
Here are some easy steps to take to minimize the risk of catching the flu:
- People can regularly wash their hands for around 20 to 30 seconds each time during the day and especially before eating
- Homeowners can begin cleaning doorknobs, window latches, handrails, countertops, and other surfaces that are touched regularly with a sanitizing spray
- Individuals can use hand sanitizer when soap and water aren’t available
- During flu season, people can avoid crowded public places where they’re more likely to be close to others who could be ill
- Everyone should avoid touching their faces because their hands could carry germs to their eyes, nose, or mouth
Those with compromised immune systems or those who are at a higher risk of developing complications from influenza may want to wear an approved, medical-grade mask when they’re out in public.
Should Seniors Get the Flu Vaccine?
Whether or not seniors should get the flu vaccine depends on their health and their doctor’s recommendation, but on the whole, the flu vaccine is helpful in staving off the flu. Medicare Part B supplements cover the flu vaccine, as well as other treatments, including:
- Mental health treatment
- Certain prescription drugs
- Ambulance services
- Clinical research
- Durable medical equipment
Unfortunately, the vaccine is not always a perfect match for the flu going around in any particular year. However, even though that’s the case, it can still help protect against it or minimize the symptoms if a person gets it.
It takes around two weeks for the body to develop immunity using the vaccine, so getting it earlier in the season is better for prevention.
Will Vitamins Help Stop the Flu?
Vitamins, like vitamin C and D, have good protective properties against the flu. If a senior does happen to catch the flu, then vitamin C could help boost their immunity and reduce their symptoms.
Taking vitamins to promote a healthy immune system is also beneficial in helping fight off the flu faster. Therefore, taking vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and elderberry extract could aid in flu prevention. Seniors should be sure to chat with their medical providers before starting any new supplements.
What Should Someone Do If They Think They Have the Flu?
If someone thinks that they have the flu or are caring for a senior loved one who may have it, they should talk to their primary care provider about getting tested. There are treatments, like helpful medications, that help minimize the severity of the flu when taken early in the disease’s life cycle.
Contact SeniorSmart to Learn More
At SeniorSmart, we want our readers and clients to be comfortable at any time of the year. As a result, we want to keep them safe from the flu and the COVID-19 pandemic. Our concierge membership services can provide information about a range of situations affecting seniors, including: