Why Do the Elderly at Home Need to be Protected From Flu?

Do you have elderly family members at home? If you do, it’s your responsibility to take care of them. Influenza is one such infection, from which the elderly need to be protected. Usually, this virus has very mild symptoms at the initial stages but if not treated at the right time it can create some serious complications for the elderly, that is why the elderly at home need to be protected from flu in India.

Before we talk about why the elderly need to be protected in the influenza season, it’s important for us to understand what flu is and how it occurs and gets transmitted into the human body.

What is Flu (Influenza)

Flu is also called influenza in medical terminology. It causes respiratory illness that is contagious and caused by influenza viruses. When it occurs in a season and its transmission gets increased, it is called seasonal flu. In the Southern Hemisphere, in countries like India, it is usually in the monsoon season.

Dry cough, muscle and joint pain, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, and headache are the early signs of flu. Usually, the flu lasts for 1-2 weeks in healthy people. But elderly are at risk and can suffer from severe to acute illness.

How does flu spread

When an influenza-infected person speaks, coughs, and sneezes they spray micro-droplets carrying the influenza virus that can infect other people.

Besides, flu also spreads through contact with an infected person.  

Why Do the Elderly at Home Need To Be Protected From Flu

According to the NBCI (national center of biotechnology information), the estimated mortality rate related to respiratory influenza was more than in people above the age of 65 (Source) that’s probably because at 35-40 people start to suffer from chronic long-term diseases like high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, and so on.

In addition to the elderly, women at any stage of pregnancy, small children in the age group of 6 months to 8 years, and people who are malnourished and suffer from a chronic lung disease like asthma also come in the risk category. They also need to be taken care of and provided medical care for fast recovery.

Now you know everything you need to know about flu. Let us talk about prevention so that your parents, grandparents, and people who are at high risk are healthy and safe from flu.

Elderly at Home

How to Prevent Flu in Elderly

Prevention is always better than cure. In the initial stage, flu can show mild symptoms but it can impair the overall health of the person. If someone is young and healthy, their body can easily recover but for the elderly, it is not that easy to recover quickly. They often suffer from severe illness because their weak immunity makes it difficult to fight off the influenza virus.

That’s why it’s important for the elderly to take proper precautions in order to keep themselves safe from the virus. Here are some helpful precautions you and the elderly can take to protect themselves from seasonal flu:

1. Get the right flu vaccine, at the right time

Getting a vaccine every year in the season of influenza is the best option to avoid getting infected with the virus. The vaccine contains weaker and similar antigens that trigger the immune system and it gets adapted to fight with similar antigens and viruses.

The WHO has recommended that the Southern Hemisphere (SH) vaccine is the ideal vaccine for India. Influenza vaccination is most effective when local circulating viruses are well-matched with vaccine antigens for SH. Since the peak season of flu in the larger part of the country starts between mid-summer to monsoons, now is the right time to vaccinate against flu for effective protection.

Flu vaccine should be taken annually. However, getting vaccinated early for subsequent seasons is likely to be associated with reduced protection against flu infection later in the flu season, particularly among older adults says CDC. Protection fades over time, so not getting vaccinated with the vaccine containing the right seasonal strains may leave one more vulnerable. Vaccination can be done throughout the SH flu season, into September, or later.

If the elderly at home have taken the covid vaccine, they can take the flu shot with a gap of 14 days.

2. Wear a Mask and Avoid Crowded Places and Sick People

In the flu season, the elderly need to avoid going to crowded places because the virus is more likely to get transmitted in such places. So, try to steer clear from any place you think wouldn’t be too safe for them.

It’s hard to know who is infected with flu unless their symptoms begin to show. So, if there is anyone who even has a little bit of cough and cold, stay away from them and wear a mask.

3. Don’t Touch Your Face and Mouth

Our hands touch many things when we go outside and even at home. Even if you wear a mask, avoid touching your face with your hands.

Only touch your face when you wash your hands with soap properly. If you are outside, you can use a sanitizer and antibacterial gel to save yourself from deadly viruses.

4. Eat Healthy

A healthy diet loaded with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids help to build your immunity. Along with healthy food, the elderly need to keep themselves hydrated as much as they can.

Fruits and juices are good to make a diet healthy and balanced. Besides, it gives them additional health benefits. So, add their favorite fruits to their diet so that their body gets enough nutrition.

5. Reduce Stress by Breathing Exercises

It is always a good idea for the elderly to include simple breathing exercises like pranayama that helps to stimulate the nervous system and enhance the body’s healing process. What’s more, happy hormones will be produced in their body keeping stress away.

6. Disinfect Everything in Your Home Regularly

Keep your home and things clean and disinfected with an antibacterial liquid or sanitizer especially your cell phone, door, knobs, and other things.

7. Visit a Doctor Immediately in case of Flu Symptoms

In case any flu signs occur in the elderly they need to get checked immediately by the doctor so that if they are infected, they can get timely treatment and recover before their health goes downhill.

In this article, I have shared everything you need to know about the influenza virus, what it is, how it spreads, why the elderly need to be protected from flu, and how they can protect themselves by getting the right flu shot at the right time.

So talk to your doctor, get the flu shot and stay healthy and take care of the elderly at home!

We must #PreventWhatCanBePrevented because flu is preventable with vaccination.

References:

1.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7182391/

2. https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public

Also Read: Fun ways to remove stress


© Ruchie Verma.

Disclaimer: This post is written as an informational post, please check your physician or doctor before starting any remedies mentioned here.

Copyright Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links are used, provided that clear credit is given to Ruchi Verma (wigglingpen) with the right and specific direction to the original content.

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Ruchi Verma

Certified parenting teen practitioner, multiple Award winner, mother of two active kids believes in sharing the right source of information to readers which could help them in every possible way!!

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29 Comments

  1. This is very informative post. Elders need timely vaccination too.

  2. Elders need timely medical assistance. Also, we always thought that only kids need to be vaccinated but that is not true. We need to know that everyone needs to take preventive measures during the flu season and take timely flu shots.

  3. With flu season coming, we have to extra vigilant with not just kids but elders too. Their immunity level is also low and they need to be vaccinated. It cannot be taken for granted.

  4. Your post is a great reminder Ruchi. here in USA flu season is just around the corner and we had scheduled appointment for flu vaccine for whole family. I agree elderly people are more susceptible to infection due to age and lower immunity . vaccinate them is best way to offer a good level of protection.

  5. My dad lives alone and I am always worried. Half of the day I am on call with him to make sure he is doing fine. I will share this article with him.

  6. Very informative post?. As we grow older, our immune system does not work as well. Not only kids, but elderly people also need to be timely vaccinated.

  7. I completely agree with your Ruchi, kids are elderly people needs to be more cautious and vigilant due to low immunity. The tips you have given are very important and needs to be followed at any cost.

  8. Senior citizens are more prone to infections due to lifestyle diseases and age-related problems as you rightly mentioned. Timely flu shots and necessary precautions can help prevention.

  9. This is a very important subject that you have addressed in this post. The elderly, with lower immunity levels, are vulnerable to infection, and it is so much necessary to protect them from flu.

  10. This is an informative post. Flu can definitely be painful and long drawn for elderly. It is better to take precautions rather than falling prey to this illness.

  11. with flu season almost upon us, it’s prudent to get the flu vaccines for both kids and the elderly in the home. Thanks for the post, let me remind my parents to get one.

  12. It’s that time of the year again when the elderly are highly suspectible to flu. Getting vaccinated for flu is the right thing to do, as you rightly suggested.

  13. Elders are more prone to infections and diseases due to their inability to make anti-bodies. This is a very informative post to take care of our elderly well and on time. Vaccination is a great way to keep up with the health challenges.

  14. As elder people need medical care from time to time and coming is the winter season which is bond to be a flu season. Good tips and points that can be looked into.

  15. For sure, elders need to be protected from flu for sure as it can became healing and recovering hard for them. These are some amazing tips and for sure they help in protecting the elders.

  16. Given the fact that elderly people are fragile and have weaker bodies, it becomes imperative for them to be protected against seasonal changes and flu is one of the major factors affection most elder people. You have shared strong reasons to protect these crucial members of our society.

  17. #preventwhatcanbeprevented This is very informative and clears many doubts about flu vaccination in elderly.
    Timely flu vaccination is much needed Thanks for sharing.

  18. Shreemayee Chattoppadhyay

    Yes, elders also need to get vaccinated. Those are some great tips to help the elderly persons of our families. Very informative post.

  19. Very informative post. We need to be extra careful when it comes to taking care of elderly people like the way we take care of kids. Getting a vaccination is very important

  20. I agree Senior citizens are more prone to infections due to lifestyle diseases . Timely flu shots and necessary precautions can help prevention.

    1. Jyoti, I totally advocate your point that only prevention is something we can take and save them.

  21. This post is really very helpful Ruchi. You penned it so perfectly. loved reading this.. thanks for sharing

    1. Elders surely need to be taken care of during this season!!

  22. Like children, even elder’s immunity gets weak with time and any change in the lifestyle and the season especially rainy season can easily impact them So it’s better to prevent any illness by taking the right action.

    1. Totally agree Hansa!! Elders are just like kids at home who need more care!

  23. Senior citizens need to have the most prompt care available to them as far as flu and other viruses are concerned.

    1. Absolutely Aseem! It’s important to take care of elders at home!!

  24. My grandmother is in a high risk category. I will surely try your tips with her. She has already been vaccinated but she is stressed by the demise of her daughter, my aunt. Breathing exercises will surely help.

    1. More power to your Grandmother. Yes, Breathing exercise is must!!

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