How Do I Protect My Older Loved One from the Flu?

Since the emergence of the coronavirus that originated in China in December 2019, all eyes have been on the rapidly developing situation and the confirmed cases of both the infected and those that have died as a result of the virus.Senior Getting Flu Shot

However, there is another virus that is rapidly spreading and sickening millions of individuals in the United States. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it has impacted 15 million.

There have been 140,000 various hospitalizations and – at least – 8,200 deaths. This is the influenza – or “flu”. Now that you are aware of the staggering statistics of this virus, you need to learn how to protect your older loved ones who are more at risk to the virus.

The Most Deadly of All Viruses Each Year

While it is true that the coronavirus is one that should be taken seriously, it is important to understand that the flu is the deadliest virus to Americans – each and every single year.

The coronavirus has the ability to cause pneumonia and has been blamed for at least 81 deaths, to date. By the time you read this, that number will likely be higher.

In the winter of 2017, 80,000 people died of the flu in the United States. In a year where there is a severe flu, it is not at all uncommon for 60,000+ people to die of the flu. The flu is known to prey on the young, the immune compromised, and the elderly.

It is essential that we take steps to protect these individuals. For the purpose and intent of this guide, we will focus on steps that can be taken to protect the elderly.

Protecting Your Loved One

The elderly are one of the most susceptible groups when it comes to the flu. There are several reasons for this, but new research has established that the main reason is the fact that an older person’s immune system experiences issues in recognizing new types of viral strains.

Additionally, because of the immune system’s issues, the elderly are more susceptible to complications associated with the flu – such as the onset of pneumonia. In order to properly protect your older loved one, you should do the following:

  1. Make certain that your loved one receives a flu shot. While not 100% effective, it will help ward off the influenza type or types that are deemed the most likely to spread during that particular flu season.
  2. A pneumonia shot is also an important step. While this shot protects against various types of bacteria (not viruses) that cause pneumonia, it could be an effective measure in eliminating the possibility that your loved one will suffer pneumonia as an adverse reaction to the flu.
  3. To reduce the possibility of getting the flu and to provide a boost to your loved one’s immune system, you should increase their intake of vitamin C and protein. You may do this through supplements, nutritional drinks with added protein, and incorporating certain foods to their diet – such as oranges, eggs, and fish.
  4. Focus on cleanliness. This means ensuring your loved one’s living space is kept clean and as germ-free as possible. Clothing and bedding should be washed in hot water to kill germs. Additionally, your loved one should wash their hands and sanitize their hands frequently. Furthermore, regular bathing/showering should be performed. Remember to increase the temperature when showering/bathing as being subjected to the cold when wet could increase the likelihood of developing an illness.
  5. Your older loved one should be encouraged to consume a large amount of liquids. Water and heated tea are especially good options. This will help increase the moisture in the nasal passages. In turn, the moisture will help trap any germs that attempt to make their way into the body before they settle within the body.

The flu is a serious and potentially deadly virus. Older populations should be protected as they are highly susceptible to complications from the influenza.

It does not matter if your loved one lives independently, in an assisted living facility, or a nursing home – all of the steps contained in this guide should be taken to protect them.

For more information on assisting an older loved one or on topics pertaining to this age group, contact us here at Beacon Senior Advisors today: 973-713-0096


Recent Posts