Senior Health: Flu Prevention

Cup of teaOver the age of 65, adults become more susceptible to illness, and flu season is a great concern for senior health. Seniors are at greater risk of developing complications from the flu, and most flu-related hospitalisations are patients over the age of 65. The good news is that there are prevention methods available to everyone, and following these steps can keep your senior loved one healthy this flu season.

The Flu Shot: Each year, the flu vaccine is updated with the current virus changes, so it’s important for seniors to have the new shot each flu season. For senior adults, a different flu shot is available that is appropriate for that age group so that they are not put in danger by the vaccination itself.

See the Doctor: If your senior loved one develops flu symptoms, it’s important to get to the doctor quickly, rather than ‘waiting for it to pass’. The earlier that antiviral drugs are taken, the greater chance that the flu will be treated without developing any further complications. Flu symptoms include cough, fever, body aches, headache, runny nose, chills, and fatigue. Many of these symptoms can be confused with other illnesses or side effects from prescription medication, so it’s important to seek a professional opinion if any of these symptoms are present.

Wash Your Hands: It may sound obvious, but practising good health habits and being diligent with washing hands, covering mouths when coughing, and avoiding people who are ill are very important to flu prevention. Senior adults should not socialise with friends or family who have a cold or flu.

Take Care of Your Immune System: A healthy diet, plenty of sleep, staying hydrated, and enjoying regular exercise are all essential in illness prevention.