For the 2017-2018 winter season, the flu has been particularly problematic, and even deadly. In fact, according to the CDC, every segment of the continental U.S. revealed “widespread” flu activity, a first in its more than a dozen years of monitoring how hard-hitting the flu is. If you’re a senior in the Bay Area, you’ll want to be sure you’re aware of the risks of becoming a victim of a flu strain that’s affecting more people (even those who’ve had a flu shot) and resulted in a higher number of deaths than normal.
The CDC claims that H3N2, or influenza A, is particularly prevalent this year, not only making the flu vaccine less effective, but increasing the risks for young children and those who are older. Especially concerning is the fact that, of 100,000 U.S. residents, about 23 have had to be hospitalized due to the flu.
Flu vaccines aren’t a guarantee you won’t get the flu. This year, the CDC estimates the vaccine is only effective against about 30% of H3 viruses, which is less than a third of cases. While getting a flu shot is highly recommended to protect against strains that usually manifest later in the season, such as B strains, it’s still important to be aware that certain individuals are more susceptible than others to serious complications, such as pneumonia. These include those with a weakened immune system or existing chronic conditions such as bronchitis or respiratory issues, common in older adults.
Symptoms of the flu include sore throat, a cough, runny nose, chills, fever, body aches, fatigue and headache. Whether or not you’ve had the vaccine, a doctor may prescribe Tamiflu or a similar antiviral medication if you get medical attention within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms, which could reduce the severity of the flu and shorten its duration.
You may not know it, but flu can result in heart attack and strokes for those over 65, even months after flu symptoms have subsided, according to WebMD . About 80% of deaths attributed to the flu occur in seniors, so it’s vital to get a flu vaccine and take precautions.
The Bay Area home caregivers at Care Indeed want seniors and their families to be extremely vigilant when it comes to the flu this season. Washing hands frequently, avoiding crowded areas where you may come in contact with someone who has the flu, covering your nose and mouth with a respirator or antiviral mask if you do have to be out in public, and general good hygiene habits can go a long way toward keeping you healthy. If you’re in Lamorinda, Palo Alto or any city in the Bay Area and need senior care, give Care Indeed a call today.