Each year, the flu hits seniors the hardest

 

Adults 65 and older often have co-occurring conditions and/or weaker immune systems, making them more vulnerable to getting the flu, which can be deadly.  In the United States flu season started early this year, and activity continues to remain very high in Central Texas.  This pattern is likely to continue for several months, making it even more important for everyone—especially those who are at greater risk—to take the proper precautions to avoid getting the flu.

Prevention

Get the flu vaccine each year. Even if you haven’t been vaccinated yet, there is still time.  The Senior Health clinic at Lone Star Circle of Care in Georgetown has the flu vaccine available and accepts Medicare.

Stop the spread of germs.

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Stay home if you have fever.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with your forearm when you cough or sneeze.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water.

Signs and symptoms

Although the flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, the flu is more severe.  Even with the proper precautions, it is still possible to get the flu.  Most people experience all or some of these symptoms: fever, headache, cough, body ache, sore throat, fatigue, and runny nose.

Treating the flu

While there is no cure for the flu, it can be helpful to treat the symptoms of the flu.  Staying hydrated, taking acetaminophen such as Tylenol for fever and pain relief, or taking a decongestant or antihistamine for runny nose and swelling in the nasal passages.  Although taking these over-the-counter drugs can be helpful, it’s important to consult your physician before taking any medications.

Complications

Older adults are at a greater risk of having complications as a result of the flu.  Complications associated with the flu include pneumonia, muscle inflammation, heart problems, ear infections, sinus infections, and it can worsen chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes.

“If you think you may have the flu, it is important to consult your physician immediately,” said Dr. Lola Okunade, Director of Family Medicine for Lone Star Circle of Care.  “Depending on your current health, your doctor will determine if antiviral drugs can be used to treat your illness.  These drugs can decrease the severity and longevity of the flu.”

Provided by Lone Star Circle of Care

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