It is important to reduce the risk of flu for older adults. To reduce your risk of getting the flu the CDC recommendations state:
- Get a flu shot
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
These are great recommendations, but we also know that older adults have a greater health risk when combating the flu.
Older adults suffer more hospitalizations and deaths from the flu virus. So we have built on the recommendations made by the CDC. Expanding those recommendations to eleven practices, instead of four. It’s methods we believe are rather easy to deploy and will greatly reduce the risk of flu for older adults.
Eleven Ways to Reduce the Risk of Flu for Older Adults
- Get a flu vaccine. (FDA) licensed a new seasonal influenza (flu) vaccine containing adjuvant for adults 65 years of age and older. An adjuvant is an ingredient added to a vaccine to create a stronger immune response to vaccination. Web source: flu vaccines for people over 65
- Reduce time spent in crowds of people.
- Stay away from sick people.
- Keep your hands away from your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (singing Happy Birthday to Me to yourself twice while washing your hands is an appropriate duration)
- Keep an alcohol-based hand rub in your pocket or purse and use it often when soap and water are not available.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects frequently. This includes your phone, counter tops, door knobs, and other objects that frequently come in contact with hands.
- Use disposable tissues and throw them in the trash immediately after use.
- Consider using disposable hand towels to dry your hands instead of a cloth towel during the flu season.
- Consider wearing an anti-viral face mask while in public if you particularly frail or are in poor health.
Why getting a flu vaccine annually helps reduce the risk of flu for older adults.
Getting the flu vaccine each year is the best way to reduce the risk of flu for older adults. Researchers found that repeated influenza vaccination offers a double benefit in older adults, proving 74 percent effective in preventing intensive-care, or ICU, admissions, and 70 percent effective in preventing deaths Web source: https://www.upi.com/Health_News/2018/01/08/Study-Annual-flu-shot-keeps-seniors-out-of-the-hospital/5741515423600/
So get the vaccine annually, unless your medical professional tells you not to do so. Also, put in place as many of our recommendations as you can to reduce the risk of flu for older adults and increase your opportunity to skip that nasty virus this year.
If you get the flu, get to your doctor ASAP
If you think you have the flu, then make an appointment with your medical professional immediately for diagnosis and treatment. Your medical professional may prescribe an antiviral, such as Tamiflu. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best for treatment when they are started within two days of getting sick. However, starting them later can still be helpful, especially if the sick person is at high risk of serious flu complications or is very sick from the flu.