If you’re thinking your older family member is in the clear from the flu, you may be wrong. According to an early February 2019 article posted on WebMD, the flu season hasn’t even reached its peak yet. At the beginning of February, 47 states were reporting widespread flu, with 24 of them having high levels of flu. Flu season is expected to continue through the month of March. So, if the senior citizen in your life has not yet gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late.
What Might Stop Seniors from Getting the Shot?
Unfortunately, there are a number of myths surrounding the flu and the flu vaccine that might be keeping your aging relative from going to get their shot. Some common myths are:
Myth: The flu vaccine can cause the flu.
Truth: The flu vaccine is made using an inactive form of the virus or a single virus gene, which means that it is incapable of causing the flu.
Myth: You don’t really need a shot every year.
Truth: The vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against the virus strains that are believed will be the most common that season. Therefore, a yearly vaccine is needed to protect against current flu strains.
Myth: The flu isn’t that serious.
Truth: Although the flu has some symptoms in common with a cold, it can be much more serious. In fact, approximately 36,000 people die every year from the flu. In addition, 200,000 are hospitalized each year.
Myth: Allergic reactions to the vaccine are common.
Truth: While some people might have pain or redness at the site of the vaccine, a serious allergic reaction to the vaccine is quite rare.
Are There Other Ways to Prevent Flu?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu vaccine. However, there are steps older adults can take in addition to the vaccine, such as:
- Staying away from people who are ill.
- Washing hands thoroughly and frequently. If a water and soap are not available, use hand sanitizer.
- Avoiding touching their face since germs on the hands can enter the body through the eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Cleaning frequently touched surfaces (counter tops, doorknobs, faucets, etc.) with disinfecting cleaners.
Senior care can also help older adults to prevent the flu. Senior care providers can drive them to get a vaccination. They can also remind them to wash their hands or use sanitizer often. Senior care providers can also help to keep the house cleaner and germ free by wiping down kitchen and bathroom counters, faucets, and doorknobs and handles.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering in-home senior care, please call the caring professionals at Medvale Home Care today. Serving you in: Union, Essex, Middlesex, Hudson, Bergen and Morris. Call today: (908) 688-1025