Flu season is upon us, even though it still feels like summer in many cities across the United States. If your parent is 65 or older, hopefully he or she has had a yearly flu vaccine already. In fact, a doctor may recommend they receive a high dose flu vaccine rather than the standard vaccine. Because the immune system is often compromised or weakened with age, the flu vaccine is typically recommended by physicians at the higher dose for seniors. If your parent were to contract the flu, a caregiver could provide for them during this illness. However, avoiding the flu altogether is preferable to both caregiver and client.
The flu is highly contagious. It may take a toll on the bodies of those who are older. A higher dose flu shot provides more protection from the flu than a standard dose. However, it takes two weeks from the time your parent is vaccinated for it to take effect and your parent could still contract the disease within that period of time. Also, it does not cover all viruses.
Typically, flu symptoms affect the throat, nose, and lungs. However, the flu can progress into the lungs and develop into pneumonia. The flu typically lasts only three to seven days, but if your parent has other chronic illnesses it may last two weeks or longer. During the infection time, your mother or father will need to take medication to reduce their symptoms, should drink plenty of liquids and get enough rest. However, taking care of themselves and maintaining medication schedules, proper fluid intake, and resting may require some assistance from a caregiver.
Medicare Part B provides coverage for the flu vaccine. If a senior does not have this coverage, check with your medical team and local pharmacies to find out what special plans or discounts they may offer.