OSEA Safety Blog

The Flu and Seniors: Dangers, Symptoms, Prevention, Remedies

Monday, April 8, 2019 Julia Costa

Just recently, my family lost a loved one to a bad case of the flu. The lack of knowledge about the flu and how badly it can effect seniors caused us not to be able to help her in time. The reason I chose to cover this specific topic is because it was a huge eye opening experience in my life. If my family would’ve been educated on how dire the stomach flu can be in elderly people, we could’ve been able to help my grandmother before it was too late. This all happened in one short week; her getting ill, being hospitalized, and passing away. Being sure to take extra good care of your grandparents/parents immediately when they get older and catch the flu is essential to their lives.

An estimated 1% of the population over the age of 65 will require treatment in a hospital due to the flu. Elderly people, when hit with the flu, have a high risk of dehydration, which can cause advanced issues with their health. Some of the most common symptoms of the flu are: chills & fever, pain in the lower abdomen, diarrhea, headaches, and vomiting. Symptoms that require hospital care are trouble breathing, problems don’t improve after 4 days, and if you begin to feel better then quickly decline. These are all cause for immediate action to ensure the person’s body doesn’t get too weak.

There are a few ways to prevent elderly people from getting too sick. You can get them a high dosage flu vaccine made specifically for elderly people. It’s recommended for people ages 65+. This should be repeated each year because the flu changes annually. A few other tips for how to best protect older family members include:

  • Don’t allow them to get the nasal spray flu vaccine
  • It takes an estimated two weeks for the flu shot to protect your body from symptoms. Doctors suggest getting the shot early in the season so their body has a chance to build up immunity.
  • Take a trip to the doctor to get different medications that can help comfort the person sick.
  • Remember to get a lot of rest and to stay hydrated at all times.

Something so little to a young adult’s health is a lot bigger of a problem for seniors, so act sooner rather than later about taking them in to be cared for by a doctor. Waiting too long can have dire consequences.




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