This season’s influenza (flu) outbreak has become extremely serious, especially in children and people over age 50. There has been a total of 8 flu-related deaths reported just in Idaho – all were over age 50.
According to the Idaho Central Health Department, Idaho medical providers and hospitals are reporting and increase in visits for influenza-type respiratory illnesses across the state. Hospitals are reporting high utilization of emergency room services for flu symptoms.
For many seniors, with the flu comes the risk of many other complications. The elderly simply cannot battle the symptoms like a younger person can. The flu shot is covered 100% by MediCare and is highly recommended – especially if you’re over the age of 50, and definitely over the age of 65. An astonishing 90% of all flu-related deaths in the US each year occur in people over age 65. The flu can lower a person’s immune system and may cause Pneumonia – the 4th leading cause of death in seniors.
Help educate your senior friend or family member. Explain the importance of the following which can help keep them from getting sick:
- Wash hand regularly – at least 20 seconds each time with antibacterial soap
- Avoid being around a coughing person or someone who is obviously sick
- Clean heavily used areas with a good germ-killing solution (door knobs, faucets, phones, etc)
- Get the flu shot!
Watch for signs of the flu such as:
- Vomiting or diarrhea
- Dizziness or confusion
- High temperature – usually above 100 degrees
- Changes in skin color
- Extreme irritability
- Extended periods of sleep and fatigue
- Cold symptoms such as stuffy nose, sore throat, achy body
It is recommend that persons over 50 years of age get the actual shot rather than the nasal spray vaccine. It’s never too late so don’t wait any longer!