Flu and seniors can be a dangerous combination. The flu, for many of us, often presents itself as a simple, run-of-the-mill ailment that will run its course after a few restful days, combined with some hot soup and medication. But for seniors, and many others with vulnerable immune systems, complications from the flu can be severe. According to CDC statistics, patients 65 years and older account for as much as 70% of flu-related hospitalizations. Before this flu season hits full throttle, here are some flu prevention tips for seniors.
Be Meticulous with Hand Washing
When you’re out and about throughout the day, it’s important to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly, especially during the flu season. Wash your hands after using the washroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating or preparing food. Wash your hands with warm water for at least 20 seconds, scrubbing the palms, backs of your hands, between fingers, and under the nails. It’s best to use a liquid soap rather than a bar as soap bars can harbour bacteria. Hand sanitizer is not a replacement for proper handwashing. However, it can be useful when handwashing is not possible.
Keep Surfaces Clean
Whether it’s personal items, such as cell phone and laptops, or surfaces at home – it’s important to be extra diligent with keeping surfaces clean and germ-free. Use a sanitizing product such as disinfecting swipes that are readily available in stores to clean your personal items and devices that are touched frequently throughout the day. This includes remotes, keyboards, computer mice, faucets, doorknobs, fridge handles, etc.
Use Your Arm for Sneezing or Coughing
Always sneeze or cough into your arm and not your hands. If you direct it onto your hands, spreading those germs becomes likely. Avoid using your hands to catch those germs.
Get the Flu Shot
Of course, there’s always the option of receiving the flu shot. It can prevent you from contracting various new strains of the virus. The shot can protect you for up to six months. So before the flu season arrives, visit your doctor or pharmacist to get your free shot administered. The best time to get it done is between October and December before the virus peaks.
The flu virus can be a serious matter to endure for seniors. But with the right preventative steps, you can minimize your chances of obtaining it. Utilize these steps before and during the flu season to keep you and your loved ones flu-free.
Contact Qualicare Family Homecare at 613.366.2899 if you have any questions about flu prevention, senior health, or in-home care.