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What Are the Effects of Influenza on the Elderly?

By December 17, 2018Flu, What Is

Each year, influenza infects hundreds of thousands of people throughout the country. While the flu impacts people of all ages, it can be life-threatening for senior citizens and other vulnerable people. As reported by The Washington Post, the 2017-2018 flu was a record-breaking season — 80,000 were killed by influenza. Early signs suggest that 2018-2019 may be another challenging year. It is important that everyone knows how to help their elderly family members cope with the flu. Professional help is always available. Some elderly people may even be eligible for free home healthcare services.

The Elderly are More Likely to Get the Flu

Not only are elderly people at a much higher risk of developing complications from influenza, but senior citizens are also significantly more likely to get the flu. As noted in research published by Michigan Health Lab, elderly people are more susceptible to all types of viral lung infections. For this reason, it is crucial that extra precautions are taken to help ensure that elderly people are able to avoid influenza. Some of the best flu preventions strategies include:

  • Getting a flu shot (by far the most important;
  • Frequent washing of hands;
  • Keeping a clean, germ-free home environment;
  • Avoiding close contact with sick people;
  • Avoiding large crowds;
  • Eating a healthy diet; and
  • Staying well-hydrated.

Even if you and your family members do everything right, there is still a possibility that your loved one will come down with the flu. In the unfortunate event that this happens, immediate intervention is needed. For older adults, the consequences of the flu can be catastrophic. According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), senior citizens develop complications from the flu at a much higher rate than other adults. The sooner you take action to treat the flu, the better.

Caring for an Elderly Loved One Who Has the Flu

From the moment you notice that your elderly loved one is displaying flu-like symptoms, you should be ready to take action. This is not to say that every sniffle or a cough should cause you panic attacks. That is certainly not the case. Often, those early flu-like symptoms will not turn into a serious problem. Still, you need to be prepared. If you believe that your elderly family member might have the flu, you should:

  • Schedule an immediate appointment with a doctor;
  • Make sure that your loved one is getting plenty of rest;
  • Make sure that your loved one is well-hydrated; and
  • Continuously check up on their status until all of the symptoms have passed.

Find Out If Free Home Healthcare Services are Available

At United Energy Workers Healthcare and Four Corners Health Care, our team is proud to offer top home healthcare services to qualified EEOICPA/RECA beneficiaries. You or your loved one may be eligible for free home healthcare. To learn more about what our home healthcare professionals can do for you and your family, please do not hesitate to contact our team today.