Let’s face it, no one likes getting the flu. Having body aches, a fever, and the chills isn’t anyone’s idea of a great way to spend the day. However, for older adults, getting the flu can be worse than just feeling awful for a few days. Older adults can develop serious complications from the flu. Knowing what can happen when your aging relative gets the flu can help you to watch for complications and ensure they get the medical attention they need.

Home Health Care Matthews NC - Why is Flu So Dangerous for Seniors?

Home Health Care Matthews NC – Why is Flu So Dangerous for Seniors?

Spotting Flu Symptoms

Older adults experience the same flu symptoms that people in other age groups do. The symptoms usually begin anywhere from one to four days after the person has been in contact with the flu virus. Sometimes people confuse cold and flu because they share some symptoms.

Shared symptoms of cold and flu include:

  • Congestion.
  • Runny nose.
  • Coughing.
  • Sore throat.

But, when a person has the flu, they may also have the following symptoms:

  • Body aches.
  • Fever.
  • Chills.
  • Weakness.
  • Headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Chest discomfort.

If you notice symptoms of flu in your aging relative, it’s important to contact the doctor right away. If the senior sees a doctor within 2 days of symptoms appearing, the doctor may be able to prescribe antiviral medications that can make flu symptoms less severe and last for a shorter time.

Possible Flu Complications

Flu complications can range from mild to severe. They can even be deadly. In fact, about 85 percent of flu-related deaths each year happen in people who are 65 or older.

Some possible flu complications include:

  • Sinus infections.
  • Ear infections.
  • Bronchitis.
  • Dehydration.
  • Worsening of other conditions, like asthma, emphysema, and heart disease.

Preventing the Flu

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that the best way to prevent flu in older adults is to make sure they get an annual flu vaccine. The vaccine is reformulated each year to protect against that season’s flu viruses, so it’s important for seniors to get one each year. In addition to the flu vaccine, seniors should also receive the pneumonia vaccine.

Home health care can drive your aging relative to get their flu vaccine. Home health care providers can also help the older adult to take other steps to prevent the flu. For example, a home health care provider can remind them to wash their hands frequently. A home health care provider can also disinfect surfaces in the home that are touched often, like countertops and faucets.

Sources:  https://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/fact-sheet-elderly-people#1

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm

https://www.healthline.com/health/flu/flu-in-elderly-symptoms-complications

If you or an aging loved one are considering Home Care Services in Matthews NC, please call the professional staff at Caring at Heart today at (704) 379-7510. Serving Charlotte, Statesville, Ballantyne, Mooresville, Huntersville, Matthews, Concord, Gastonia, Pineville and Indian Trail.