COVID & Seniors: Preparing for the Flu Season
Although COVID seems to be the respiratory illness on everyone’s mind, it’s important not to forget about the oncoming flu season. The CDC estimates that from “October 2019 to April of 2020, there were at least 39 million cases of the flu and 18 million flu-related medical illnesses.”
These numbers become considerably more dangerous when we factor in the novel coronavirus.
Thus, it’s important for all of us to do everything we can to aid in flu prevention. Whether you are a senior or a home health aide, the following are just a few simple tasks to help prepare for the upcoming flu season.
Get a Flu Vaccine
One of the easiest things that we can do to quell the oncoming flu season is to get a vaccination. The CDC currently recommends that “Everyone 6 months of age and older should get an annual flu vaccine by the end of October.”
This is especially important for seniors and other high-risk individuals, as a large percentage of flu hospitalizations are overrepresented by the elderly. By getting vaccinated today, seniors can ensure that they are protecting themselves from potential harm tomorrow.
It should be noted that getting vaccinated only works if a majority of the community gets vaccinated as well. Thus, in order to protect each other, it’s imperative to reach out to friends and family and make sure they’re vaccinated as well.
Practice Regular Hand Washing
This may sound like a repeat from March, but in order to maintain personal health and safety, it’s important to practice consistent hand washing! According to the TCHC, “Through washing of the hands, you can prevent one in five respiratory infections such as a cold or flu.”
To ensure effective hand washing, seniors should use soap and water with frequency. They should lather for the appropriate time and wash hands long enough to sing “the happy birthday song” twice. If hand soap and water are not readily available, an alcohol based solution will suffice until regular hand washing can be practiced.
Limit Contact with Public Spaces
Another way to lessen the possibility of the flu is to avoid touching any highly trafficked surfaces. This could be an escalator railing, a door handle, a pen from the bank, to name a few. Try and limit contact with these surfaces when possible. If you must venture into the world, aim for no-touch solutions such as automatic doors or contactless pick up.