Flu season is officially here and it is most likely going to be one of the worst ones we have seen in years. Thus far, statistics show that the rates of infection this season, 2017-2018, are the highest we have seen since 2009 when Swine Flu had become a pandemic. Another troubling stat is that we are seeing more hospitalizations than the deadly 2014-2015 season in which over 50,000 died and just over 600,000 were hospitalized due to flu or flu-related complications. We are not sharing these numbers with you to create a sense of chaos or panic, quite the contrary.
Here at Champion Home Health Care, we take the health and well-being of seniors and their caregivers seriously. We have seen the effects of this year’s deadly flu season and want to prevent you or a loved one from suffering if at all possible. While there is no way you can cut yourself off entirely from the world at large, there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of contracting the flu virus. If you are a homebound senior, you still need to take precautions. Again, none of this information is meant to frighten you. We just want to see everyone stay healthy this year!
First and foremost, get a flu shot. The CDC recommends that healthy individuals ages 6 months and older guard themselves with a flu shot. You may have seen the news reports that say this year’s flu shot is less effective than in years past and while this is true, experts are still recommending getting the vaccination even this late in the season. For those of you who have already had the flu but have yet to receive a flu shot, doctors say getting vaccinated once you are healthy is still an important thing to do. This is because there are multiple strains of the flu out there and being diagnosed with one does not make you immune to the others.
The next step is something you can put into practice every single day. Be sure that you are taking preventative steps in order to lessen your chances of contracting the flu. Wash your hands, preferably with water and soap but if all you have is an alcohol-based cleanser, by all means, use it. Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth as germs tend to spread this way.
Avoid contact with those who are sick. If you are not feeling well, stay away from others and be sure to cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough to avoid spreading germs yourself. Pay attention to your symptoms and go to the doctor. You don’t have to be a hero here. If you begin to feel short of breath, go immediately. This could be a sign that the flu has progressed into something more severe. Don’t wait. Take action immediately. If you are not capable of going yourself, call someone to assist you.
This year’s flu season is nothing to minimize. Take care of yourself and the ones you love. Pay attention to how you feel and take the steps to keep your environment germ free. Stay safe!