Five Against the Flu

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The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other health officials are cautioning that ’13 is showing signs of being an unlucky number for flu. In fact, flu season started about five weeks ahead of schedule this year, which is earlier than it’s been in ten years, according to the CDC. As of the week ending on January 5, 2013, 3,710 people had been hospitalized with flu, and 20 children had died from complications of the illness. Because seniors are especially susceptible – and more at risk for complications that could lead to hospitalization or even death, it is extremely important to take every necessary precaution to protect them from flu. To help, here are five things that we at Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon are recommending to our clients and CAREGivers.

Get a Flu Shot: We can’t stress it strongly enough: if you haven’t gotten a flu shot, please get one. That goes for seniors and their caregivers and family members. The effectiveness of a vaccine depends on the strain of flu going around as well as the person getting the vaccination, but the CDC strongly encourages vaccination as a matter of course for good personal and public health. Most places offer a higher dose flu shot designed specifically for people 65 and over, but you should check with your doctor about which one is right for you. One flu vaccine every flu season is covered by Medicare so let this be your shot in the arm to go get one if you haven’t already.

Practice Good Handwashing: Wash hands with soap frequently or use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, especially after you cough, sneeze or touch you face, after you’ve been outside or in public, and before you eat. Take advantage of hand and cart sanitizers that are offered in many stores, doctor’s offices and other public places.

Sneeze Sense: Droplets from a sneeze or a cough can travel up to six feet. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and dispose of the tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your sleeve. It may sound unappealing, but it’s better than spreading or catching the flu.

Get Better Before Getting Back To Work: Stay home when sick and do not return to school or work until 24 hours after a fever.

Rest Well, Eat Well: A 2009 study by Carnegie Mellon University found that people who got eight or more hours of sleep were less likely to come down with a respiratory virus ( like the flu or a cold) ─ even when a live virus was placed directly in their nose ─ than those who'd slept for fewer than seven hours. Experts also advise a diet rich in Vitamins C and D and plenty of exercise.

At Home Instead Senior Care, we take every precaution to help ensure the health and safety of our clients. If you would like to learn more about caring for a senior, please contact us at (541) 330-6400 or Like our Facebook page.


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