In any given year, about 30 million people get the flu. In bad years, it’s closer to 50 million. Public health officials say cases are cropping up early this fall, and we could be in for another doozy. So what does this mean for you?
In this week’s article, we discuss some of the pressing issues of the influenza virus, flu vaccine, and tips to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting the flu.
I don’t think I need to make an argument for staying flu-free. Body pains, complete loss of energy, fever, and headaches, and all the other joys that come with it.
Researchers have observed that the older we get, the more susceptible to the flu, and the risks that follow. Furthermore, an unhealthy lifestyle can increase the likelihood of catching the flu and how we bounce back from it.1
Why catching the flu changes as we age
The human body is designed to maintain most functions even when succumbing to illness or other high-stress periods. Even when you are sick, our organs still function well, and you can handle most tasks.
As we get older, the body’s capacity to heal itself becomes weaker. As a result, when seniors suffer illnesses, their symptoms, and the signs that appear in them are a bit different than the typical symptoms and signs that the flu brings about.
..and this is how
As an older adult, you may experience some symptoms and risks differently2 than before, including:
- Weakness and dizziness
- Increased shortness of breath
- Aggravated asthma
- Higher risk for heart failure
As we get older, the symptoms that appear are more likely to change when we develop infections. The two common factors that are responsible for these are the weakening of our immune system and the deterioration of our vitality.
Three tips to get you through this flu season
1. Necessary needles - the flu shot
Flu shots are one of the most effective methods to defend ourselves from the flu, which is also why it, in particular, is recommended for older adults.
If you, in addition, have a history of any of the below illnesses you should take this advice especially seriously3:
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Diabetes, kidney problems or immune deficiencies
- People who are obese or extremely overweight
2. Take preventative steps
You can take several measures to prevent the flu virus from infecting you and your loved ones. The following are some things you can do:
- Avoid contact with infected people, especially in public spaces
- Try to avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth as this is where you find the contagious body fluids that spread the virus.
- Wash your hands or use disinfecting gels frequently.
- Finally, if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, it is best to stay indoors to avoid spreading the virus.
3. Get treated if you are infected
Older adults are usually advised to speak to their doctor if they catch the flu. If you notice it early enough, you could also be prescribed medicines that help. Though keep in mind, these have to be taken within 48 hours after the first appearance of symptoms1.
Mon Tonton - community for senior wellness
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