Flu season- it’s coming! We are near the month of September, and surely some of you have started feeling the chill. The chilled weather is fun and exciting. But not for everyone.
Our seniors can be prone to severe health issues during the flu season. Are your loved ones ready for flu season to appear? If not, you are at the right place.
Throughout this article, we will build a brief knowledge about seasonal flu. And in the end, you will finish with a complete guideline on flu season safety tips.
When Is Flu Season Coming in 2022?
Source: The Flu Season CDC
We will talk about flu season and the associated diseases throughout the article. But we need to address the topmost question on our list. When does flu season start in 2022?
Flu season is often associated with colder months of the year. And these months can start from the early September days. This is the time when the cold breeze starts hitting our faces. But the real icy cool month at least a month later. In total, the cold season lasts till the end of March to May. All these truly depend on the state you are residing in.
The riskiest months are between the fall and winter seasons. Months between these seasons can be very cold. The weather can vary from state to state. But CDC claims these seasons to be the flu seasons in America. And seniors are mostly prone to catching flu during these seasons.
What Is the Difference between Flu and Cold?
We’re slowly diving into the main discussion. But some confusions are still not clear. So the aim here is to give you a complete overview of flu season. This way, you can protect loved ones from flu diseases.
This time, a huge confusion can arise between cold and flu. Everyone thinks these two are similar. While they are not totally wrong, there are some differences.
Cold and flu both have almost similar symptoms. This makes the cold and flu treatment to be alike as well. Both cold and flu cause respiratory sickness from viral infections. So, how do you distinguish between them.
The simplest dissimilarity lies in their timing. Common cold, as the name suggests, can happen throughout the year. But seasonal flu, as the name reflects, is seasonal and more severe.
|Happens throughout the year||Happens in a specific season|
|Symptoms appear gradually||Symptoms appear abruptly|
|Mild symptoms and health effects||Severe symptoms and health effects|
|Caused by various viruses such as rhinoviruses, parainfluenza, etc.||Caused by Influenza virus only|
|Symptoms include aches, sneezing, sore throat, stuffy nose, etc.||Symptoms include fever, fatigue, coughing, headache, etc.|
Why Are Seniors at Risk during the Flu Season?
Do you know who is most at risk of getting flu? According to WHO, people over 65 years of age have a significant risk of Influenza. And they may also be carrying medical conditions like asthma, diabetes, or lung disease. This makes them prone to seasonal flu as well.
The underlined existing diseases also make seniors prone to flu. For example, having breathing issues can cause seniors asthma attacks during the flu season. So, it is crucial that you take proper care of them during these times.
You can also determine why seniors are at a high risk of flu. As they grow old, their immune system deteriorates. As a result, their bodies cannot fight against the flu virus.
What does it mean for your senior loved ones? It means that the elders have many different complications from the flu. For instance, seasonal flu can cause severe heart attacks in seniors. And so, they need to follow the tips for staying healthy during cold and flu season.
How Will Covid-19 Affect This Year’s Flu Season?
Covid-19! Do you remember a time when this world-changing virus wasn’t a part of your daily life? We can’t think of it either. Though COVID cases were starting to decrease earlier this year, the numbers are again on the rise. So, how the pandemic is going to affect the upcoming flu season is quite difficult to predict.
Covid and flu symptoms are pretty similar as well. Both can cause fever, sore throat, cough and more. So, it might be hard to differentiate between them. And this can cause panic across families.
So, the major factor to consider is the incubation period of the two viruses. It can take only a handful of days to experience flu symptoms. And the coronavirus can take 2 to 14 days to show its symptoms. Thus, it falls upon the caregivers to take adequate measures.
But there can be both good and bad news for flu during Covid-19. The bad news is that the flu virus can affect your body faster. And seniors may experience severe side effects.
Yet, the good news is that people are maintaining precautions from Covid-19. This can help reduce the probability of flu contamination. For example, people are working remotely, keeping their distance, and wearing masks and mass vaccination has been happening throughout the year. These protections from Covid-19 are positive signs of being safe from spreading any virus.
7 Best Ways to Get Seniors Ready for Flu Season
The flu virus can be active throughout the whole year. But the most active season is between October to March. Either way, you will need to follow the flu season safety tips almost always.
And even if you catch Influenza, a cold and flu survival kit can help you out. Regardless, our job is to get you ready for flu season. So, here are 7 tips for the flu season that can help the seniors remain safe.
1. Get the flu shot
The flu vaccine changes every year. This is because the virus becomes potent to the old vaccine. Thus, scientists build stronger and updated flu shots.
The CDC recommends that everyone get the flu shot within October. So, there is still time to get your senior loved ones flu vaccinated.
If you are afraid of the side effects, read through the linked page just above. But be sure that the effects are minimal. So, seniors can get back to their previous lives without any issue.
2. Wash hands frequently
By now, we must’ve gotten accustomed to hand washing and sanitizing. If we want to consider some positive effects of Covid-19, this would be one of them. Frequent hand washes can save you from many other viruses as well.
The best way to do this is by washing your hands in soap and water. You can also use sanitizers made from mild alcohol. Wash them for 20 continuous seconds. And you are good to go.
3. Get into the healthy habits
We understand you have been maintaining healthy habits for over a year now. So, why stop? Continue following the healthy habits that you have built up during the pandemic.
A healthy habit can consist of a healthy diet, exercise and cleanliness. Seniors must maintain all these every day of their lives. On top of everything, ensuring a healthy mental condition is also crucial. You have to keep the elders under your care safe from all health and safety hazards.
4. Disinfect your surroundings
This is a part of your healthy habits. But we are separating this due to its extreme significance. It would help if you remembered that sanitizing your hands is not enough. You will also need to keep your surroundings free of the Influenza virus.
Disinfecting can keep the whole family free of germs and viruses. As a result, every member will be protected from any viral sickness. So, what does disinfecting include?
The first task is to disinfect the whole body. If you went out, you would need to sanitize your hands and feet after coming home. The same thing applies to seniors. You can use a disinfecting spray for this job.
Other activities involve keeping the home clean. This mainly includes disinfecting things that seniors often touch. It can be their glasses. It can be their mobile phones. Or it can be doorknobs, electric switches, remote controls and others.
5. Try to enhance the immune system
As mentioned already, the immune system in seniors becomes weak with age. This makes them prone to catching the flu virus. So, they are more at risk than young adults.
So, what can they do to enhance their immune system? There are many ways to boost the immune system. It may not currently be in the best state when seniors were young. But they will surely feel the newfound strength.
The best way to stay immune is to sleep, drink and eat properly. At first, you must ensure that the senior of the house is well-rested and mentally at peace. Then, make sure that seniors are following healthy diets, including sugar alternative foods. You can find more health tips for seniors on our website.
6. Wear a mask outside
This goes without saying that nobody should leave home without a mask. This is even more serious for our elders. Both flu and coronavirus are dangerous for seniors. As a result, covering the mouth when outside is a must.
This also involves practicing health safety measures outside. For example, caregivers can teach seniors to use tissues or their elbows when sneezing or coughing. And another critical task is to wash or sanitize the hands every time after sneezing.
7. Be patient and hang in there
Unlike summers, cold seasons tend to be short. If you hate the scorching heat of the summer, this may dishearten you. But it is also a positive sign.
Short winters mean that the flu season will be there for a short time. As a result, you can also expect to heal from any seasonal viral infection sooner. So, just hang in there and follow the disease control prevention tips just for a few months of winter.
Things You Should Not Do During the Flu Season
We talked about the dos of flu season. These are to-dos that everyone must follow, especially the seniors. But there is also some don’ts of flu season. So here are some things you should not do, particularly during the flu season.
- Avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes every now and then.
- Every senior member in the housing should have their own cups, mugs, plates, spoons and glasses. Make sure they are not mismatched ever.
- Cold seasons often dehydrate seniors as they do not feel the need to drink fluids. It is your job to ensure that they drink enough water every day.
- Don’t forget to wear a mask outside. Practice carrying extra masks when going out of the home.
- Practice using tissues or handkerchiefs when sneezing. Do not sneeze or cough over someone’s face.
- Don’t take medicines without a doctor’s consultation. The nurses in caregiving homes should run regular checkups of the seniors. This can avoid unexpected problems during the flu season.
- It is better not to take seniors to the hospital in such situations except emergency. This is because the chances of getting contaminated with other diseases may increase.
- And finally, make sure that the older person does not come in contact with a risky group. You will need to isolate them from people who are sick or contain the virus.
Taking Care of Seniors with Home Care During the Flu Season
You must have already figured out the importance of proper home care during the flu season. The elderly of the house needs time to time care. While we understand you are ready to do that, professional services are always helpful.
So, you will need a one-stop service point for the senior. The care services must also be of high quality. We believe our Home Care Services can fulfill all the things you are looking for. Reach out to us through the web link and avail the best services for seniors in the country.
Elderly individuals are especially susceptible to the flu and other viruses during the winter months. It is important for caregivers, friends, and family members of elderly people to take extra precautions to avoid exposing their loved ones to sickness. Some tips to keep in mind include washing your hands often, avoiding close contact with sick people, taking vaccines, and staying home if you are feeling ill.
So, do you think you can make your loved ones ready for flu season now? You have all 7 tips at your disposal. And you have a brief understanding of the Influenza virus.
Thus, nothing can stop you from taking the primary care the senior needs. And if you face any care-related issue, we are here with our health-related blogs and services to help you out. So, don’t worry and be safe with your loved ones.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who should not get the senior flu shot?
According to several studies, flu shots are not as effective for older adults aged 65 or above as they are for younger people. Though flu shots are mostly harmless, in some rare cases, seniors may avoid them. For example, if they are extremely sick, have any severe allergic reaction to the vaccine, or someone with Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS).
What are the side effects of the senior flu shot?
Senior flu shot side effects may include:
- Redness or swelling at the injected area
- Body aches
Which is the best flu shot for seniors?
According to CDC, the only licensed high-dose inactivated flu vaccine is Fluzone High-Dose Quadrivalent, manufactured by Sanofi Pasteur Inc. This four component lotion has been approved for people ages 65 years and older who are at risk of developing complications from seasonal or pandemic infections that could lead to hospitalization or even death.
Does Medicare cover senior flu shots?
Yes. Medicare covers one free flu shot during each flu season.
When is the best time to get flu shot for seniors?
September or October is the best time to get flu shots for seniors. Since immunity may decrease faster for older people, it is recommended not to get the shot too early.