Influenza (the flu) is a serious illness that can be especially dangerous for seniors. According to the CDC, “people’s immune systems become weaker with age placing people 65 years and older at a high risk of serious flu complications compared with young, healthy adults.” Pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma and chronic heart disease can make the flu even more complicated.
The Flu is preventable, and we’ve compiled some helpful tips to keep in mind as we enter flu season:
- Wash Your Hands – Washing your hands with an antibacterial soap and warm water is a great way to kill and prevent the spreading of germs.
- Cover Your Mouth and Nose – if you are sneezing or coughing, please cover your mouth and nose with either a tissue or your arm
- Monitor How You Feel – If you feel symptoms coming on make sure you stay aware of those symptoms and adjust your level of activity to prevent the illness from escalating further
- Stay Home if You Are Sick – If you do fall victim to an illness, make sure you stay home and rest which will help to prevent further spread of the virus.
- Get the Flu Vaccine – the annual flu shot is the best way to reduce your risk of the flu and its potentially serious consequences. Many pharmacies offer free flu shots and primary care physicians can offer them during routine health care visits.
It’s not too late to get the flu shot, although it is recommended to be received by the end of October, the National Influenza Vaccination week (NIVW) takes place December 1-7. If you would like to receive a flu shot, you can utilize the CDC’s “Flu Finder Widget” by visiting https://www.cdc.gov/flu/freeresources/flu-finder-widget.html
The Center for Disease Control has additional resources for seniors which can be found by clicking here.