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Tips for Avoiding Flu Season for Seniors

December is synonymous with two seasons: the holiday season and flu season. The latter, however, is far longer. The “calendar” flu season begins in October and extends all the way into May, especially in colder climates.

Many people shrug off the flu as another extension of the cold, but it is far more than that. Symptoms of the flu are more intense and can lead to more serious health conditions, such as pneumonia and bacterial infections. Those 65 and older are at an increased risk of getting the flu, along with potential complications that could arise from it.

It is important to take extra measures to protect seniors during flu season. If you’re worried about catching the flu, remember these tips for avoiding flu season for seniors, how to know if it’s a cold or the flu, and what you should do if you catch it.

December is synonymous with two seasons: the holiday season and flu season. The latter, however, is far longer. The

Tips for avoiding flu season for seniors

Get vaccinated

The first thing you should do at the start of each flu season is get vaccinated. Some think it is enough to just ride out the season with their vaccination from the previous year, but this is a false sense of security. Flu strains change every year, so the best way to stay safe is to get this season’s flu shot.

Many pharmacies make this easy by allowing walk-ins, but you can also have it done at your next doctor’s appointment.

Wash your hands often and use alcohol-based hand sanitizers

This is a timeless tip that everyone should do every day, but it becomes especially important during flu season. Wash your hands with soap before eating, after using the washroom, and after touching any surfaces that are touched more than once by others.

Additionally, it’s a good idea to keep alcohol-based hand sanitizers on hand when you’re out and about. You may not always be able to get to a sink to wash your hands, and this will help keep you protected.

Avoid crowds

Large, tightly packed areas are a breeding ground for germs. While running errands or attending social events, try to stay away from places with large amounts of people. This is especially important if the place has no ventilation system or air purifiers.

If you know you will be in a busier location, try to avoid being there during high-traffic times. If there is no avoiding packed hours and social distancing is difficult, consider wearing a mask.

Keep your home clean and sanitized

The bacteria and viruses that cause the flu can easily spread if they are not taken care of. It’s important to keep your home as germ-free as possible by regularly disinfecting surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, kitchen counters, and bathroom countertops.

Cell phones are also notoriously dirty, so don’t forget to give yours a wipe-down. Use a disinfectant wipe or spray and then wipe it off with a clean paper towel. Do NOT use too much liquid, or it could damage your phone.

How do I know if I have a cold or the flu?

Many of the earliest symptoms of the cold and the flu– like a runny nose, fever, chills, and aches– are rather similar. However, the flu can be much more severe in its intensity. Use this chart to help you distinguish between symptoms and better understand how to move forward with treatment.

Common symptomsColdFlu
Symptom onsetGradual onsetAbrupt onset
AchesSlightMore severe
ChillsUncommonFairly common
SneezingCommonNot as common
CoughingPotential mild coughCommon, severe cough
Stuffy noseCommonUncommon
Sore throatCommonUncommon

If you’re still not sure about whether or not you have a cold or flu, call your doctor to ask about the next steps. They can help determine if it’s a cold or the flu. Seek medical care if you experience difficulty breathing, worsening fever or cough, persistent pain in the chest, vomiting, or a worsening of chronic conditions.

What should I do if I catch the flu?

If your doctor determines you’ve caught the flu, they can suggest a course of action. One common step is taking antiviral medication. Take it as prescribed until you run out of your dosage. Many people start to feel better, so they stop taking medication and instead get sicker. Completing your dosage can help prevent higher-risk complications that could arise from catching the flu.

In addition to medication, stay at home so you don’t infect others or exacerbate your symptoms. Try to get as much rest as possible, as sleep is crucial to fighting off an infection. If you’re struggling to sleep due to an accumulation of mucus, try to stay up at a 45-degree angle. Keep hydrated with plenty of water, teas, and broth-based soups.

Your at-home caregiver can help promote a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy home and lifestyle can be difficult for seniors. Luckily, an at-home caregiver can help. At Home Care Powered by AUAF, our staff can help with all the activities of daily living you need to stay healthy. Their light housekeeping helps keep your home sanitary. They can prepare delicious and healthy meals. They can assist with personal care so you look and feel clean and confident.

Our staff is honored to help you live the healthiest, happiest life possible. For more information on our services, call us at (623) 526-6367.

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You have come to the right place if you are looking for in-home care for elderly loved ones or yourself in the Phoenix area. Our team of experts provides quality services to senior citizens in the comfort of their own homes. We understand that each individual is unique. We have a vast team of experts carefully detailing every care plan with years of experience-backed care knowledge.

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