Make Way for Sniffles and Sneezes

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You may not be ready to hear this, but cold and flu season is up next. For many, contracting these illnesses means a blip of inconvenience in our lives – a few days, or a week, of discomfort before resuming our regular programming. But for seniors and those who care for them, colds and flus can be so much more destructive. ​

A simple tissue issue can quickly escalate into an upper respiratory infection, bronchitis, pneumonia and other catastrophic problems. This can lead to lengthy hospital stays and rehabilitation for the older person, and worry, logistics wrangling ("Will insurance cover this?" "Where will Mom stay when she's recuperating?") and missed work for the person who cares for them.

Colds and flus can be pernicious, but they don't have to be inevitable. Here are a few tips from the Centers for Disease Control on how to keep them at bay:

  • Get a Flu Shot: This is the most important step for everyone, at any age, and shots are widely available at medical offices, pharmacies and even some big box stores. Forget about that one nasty strain of flu that everyone says the shot won't conquer and focus on all the potential illnesses that it will.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in ​the trash after you use it (sticking tissues in your sleeve to re-use is like shoving fresh germs up your sleeve.)
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water – especially after contact with a person who is sick. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people and while sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
  • If you are sick with flu-like illness, the CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities.
  • If you normally care for an older person and you are sick, find someone else to take over the care responsibilities until you are fully recovered. Older adults are already more susceptible to illness than younger folks, and you don't want to put them at risk.

If you are interested in learning about our services for seniors recovering from an illness or hospital stay, or our respite services for times when you are unable to care for a senior loved one yourself, please contact us! 


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