Fighting the Flu: How to Protect Your Loved One This Winter
Contrary to popular belief, the flu isn’t a run-of-the-mill cold. It’s a serious disease that has led to over 200,000 hospitalizations this past year according to the CDC. Here are some tips on how you can protect yourself and your loved one this month, and during the cold winter months of 2019.
1) Get the flu shot, and get your loved one a flu shot
The CDC recommends that everyone over 6 months should get the flu shot, but also individuals with chronic diseases and health conditions like asthma, diabetes, or heart disease. As a caregiver or close family remember, be aware that the flu is highly contagious, and if your loved one comes down with it, it could lead to serious consequences.
2) Know the risks
Going off of this, be sure you realize that seniors have much weaker immune systems and are much more susceptible to developing illnesses like pneumonia, which affected 1 million adults in the United States this year, which leads to death on many occasions – between 5-7% of these patients this year. The flu is something they simply don’t need to nor deserve to face at this age.
3) Ask your doctor about additional protection
Adults 65 or older living with a chronic health condition are at high risk of developing not only other illnesses because of the flu, but also pneumococcal disease. This disease leads to pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections like sepsis. Make sure you ask your doctor or their doctor about getting the pneumococcal vaccination to prepare yourselves.
4) Be mindful when going out in public
When it’s cold out, it’s easy to make plans to get out of the house and rather than going for a walk outside, taking a trip to a local mall or shopping center. Of course, be aware of the fact that many people out there might be suffering from the flu and can infect yourself or your loved one. Take extra precautions and carry wet wipes and hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray for surfaces you touch, and especially be careful when eating in public areas or in public bathrooms.