Let’s admit it, we are all getting older these days. I wish I could say I was 18 again, but alas it isn’t so. Currently I am helping my father in law, who is in his late 80’s, with care giving. My own father and stepmom are both over 75. It is really hard to see those you love decline in health. I want to be pro-active and find out the best way to care for the elderly during flu season. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) the number of people in the USA who get the flu is rising each year:The number of people who get the flu has risen significantly over the last 8 years. The CDC estimates that influenza has resulted in:This is significant. I’m not sure about you, but I want to be sure to protect myself, my family, and those I care for from the flu this year. Truthfully, I have never had a flu shot. This year, that’s about to change. I don’t want to expose my family or friends to the flu. What if we are just a carrier? No thanks, it’s not worth sending my elderly loved ones to the Hospital. Getting the flu is even worse for our Elderly population over 65. As we age our immune systems slow down too. The Elderly have a much harder time fighting the flu, and often end up hospitalized. They are also at increased risk for flu complications.Here are the statistics from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases:10 Best Ways to Care for the Elderly in Flu Season
- between 9.3 million – 49.0 million illnesses
- between 140,000 – 960,000 hospitalizations
- between 12,000 – 79,000 deaths annually since 2010
So from 2010 until 2018:
- 28,000,000 MORE Influenza (FLU) cases reported
- 820,000 more people have been hospitalized for the flu
- 67,000 more people have died from the flu
- Get your Flu Shot – Getting your annual flu shot will lower the number of days you may have the flu and it will decrease your chances of ending up in the Hospital.
- Wash your Hands – Washing your hands with warm water for 20 seconds will help prevent the virus from spreading.
- Avoid touching mouth, eyes, and nose – The flu is a respiratory illness. It spreads in the mucous droplets when we cough. It is highly contagious. That’s why often whole families or workplace team members get sick at the same time.
- Stay home if you aren’t well – Doctors recommend you stay home when you are not well. Usually you are contagious 1 day before symptoms appear. You remain contagious for 5-7 days after you start feeling symptoms.
- Clean doorknobs, bathtubs, and common areas with disinfectant – The flu virus can be stopped by disinfecting your home. There are many antibacterial products and wipes that make this an easy task.
- Boost your Immune System with good eating habits – The elderly have an immune system that may be compromised by age. By eating foods high in vitamins and minerals you can give your immune system the extra boost it needs.
- Quit Smoking – Recently study by Yale University published in Science Daily has shown us that smokers have a more difficult time with the flu because their immune system overreacts to the flu virus.
- Reduce Stress – Stress can affect our bodies and bring fatigue, anxiety, and cause our immune systems to burn out.
- Exercise – Exercise has been shown to be the best answer for depression. Exercise also boosts your immune system and helps your body fight viruses and bacteria.
- Avoid crowded places where germs are trapped – We often have no control over the ventilation systems of where we work or go to school. Flu viruses can enter the ventilation systems from a simple cough. Have you noticed how a whole classroom or a group of coworkers all get the flu at the same time? It may be time to clean the vents and put in new air filters throughout the building.