This year has been the year of COVID-19. Almost all media attention, including medical focuses, has been on coronavirus. And, rightly so. Yet, even still there have been some news reports about flu season breaking through.
It would seem as though the flu would take a year off. After all, with people hunkered down, wearing masks, using more hand sanitizer, and social distancing, it would seem as though the flu would stand no chance of spreading through most of the population.
Yet, it is still a threat. And, it is still a threat to infants and seniors far more than it is for younger, stronger, healthier adults.
Why is the flu such concern for aging seniors?
It has to do with the immune system. When a person gets older, not only do the muscles in their body begin to weaken, so too does their immune system. When their immune system is not nearly as strong as it was in their younger years, the body becomes more susceptible to various viruses and bacteria.
The flu virus is perpetually a potentially devastating illness, especially for those with compromised immune systems. Because of that, it becomes important for aging men and women who have compromised immunity to get the flu vaccine if their doctor advises it.
What other steps can the senior take to minimize the risk of contracting the flu this year?
- First and foremost, if their doctor recommends the vaccine, they should get it.
- Second, they also must make sure they are staying away from sick people. If anyone is exhibiting signs of illness, including fever, a flushed face, runny nose, constant sneezing, and so on, that could indicate the flu or another illness.
- Third, they should make sure to stay warm. When the body gets too cold, it spends all of its limited resources shivering and trying to stay warm. That compromises the immune system even more.
So, if a senior is living at home and wants safety to be a top priority, they need to make sure to have the furnace and heating system in their home checked now. If they wait until the coldest time of year and it breaks down, they could be waiting days for an HVAC technician to get out and repair it.
That can put them at an increased risk of developing pneumonia, contracting the flu if somebody brings it into their house, and more. Following these steps will help improve safety and health for seniors at home.
If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Dulles, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 782-3655.