In a previous blog we discussed a few of the reasons that it’s so important for parents to get their kids vaccinated against the influenza virus during flu season.
Young children don’t enjoy the strong immune system of their health, adult counterparts, which means they’re at increased risk for contracting especially vicious strains of the virus. But young ones aren’t the only immune-susceptible individuals that should be especially concerned during flu season.
Elderly people are also at increased risk for contracting the flu, and when they do, they tend to suffer more severe symptoms than younger adults.
The network of Medics USA urgent care clinics is committed to keeping all members of your family healthy, whether they’re six weeks old or 65 years-old. In the past, we provided you with a list of tips for helping your senior loved one avoid fall hazards in and around their home, and today, we’d like to talk about how seniors can protect themselves against the flu. Remember, you can come into your Ashburn urgent care clinic any time to get a vaccination during flu season!
Understanding How The Flu Works
The first step toward having a successful flu season is knowing how the virus is passed between humans in the first place. The common (seasonal) flu is one of the world’s most highly contagious illnesses. “It is spread by ‘respiratory drops’–coughing and sneezing. Someone may touch something with the flu virus on it-such as door knobs, telephones or shopping cart handles-then unwittingly touch their mouth or nose,” explains A Place For Mom.
This means that simply isolating yourself away from other people who have the flu isn’t going to be enough for a sickness-free flu season. Ill people can transfer germs onto a shared surface one day, and then you come along the next day and touch it too. All you have to do is touch your eyes, nose, or mouth and BAM! The flu virus has a chance to make you sick.
Flu Season & Senior Health
The average healthy adult who comes down with the flu will experience up to a week of symptoms like fever, chills, cough, muscle aches, and a runny/stuffy nose. For a senior citizen, these symptoms can be much more severe and last even longer.
Senior Flu Prevention Tips
- Get vaccinated early in the flu season
- Wash hands frequently, especially after touching doorknobs and stair rails
- Take immune-boosting vitamins and supplements, if approved by your doctor
- Eat immune-boosting foods like citrus, garlic, broccoli, spinach, yogurt, red bell pepper, and ginger
Keep in mind that, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, getting vaccinated during flu season is tantamount to wearing a suit of armor for seniors. Even if they still contract the flu, it will probably be far less severe than if no vaccine was obtained at all, meaning that seniors will experience milder symptoms and recover much faster.
“Flu vaccines are often updated each season to keep up with changing viruses and also immunity wanes over a year so annual vaccination is needed to ensure the best possible protection against influenza,” explains the CDC.