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Senior care programs urge extra precautions for seniors during flu season

With flu season beginning not only in the entire state, but Oxford and Lafayette County as well, Home Instead Senior Care is urging those with senior loved ones to take precautions during the winter months.

According to the CDC, between 70 and 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths occur in seniors 65 years and older.

That death rate is because the flu can exacerbate other conditions or illnesses in seniors, according to Ken Cope, president of Oxford’s Home Instead Senior Care program.

“If you’re a senior, or have a senior loved one,” Cope said, “get treatment right away. Because chances of them fighting the flu early are a lot better.”

According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors who get the flu can also develop a secondary infection or pneumonia, as their bodies are too busy fighting the flu to fight other illnesses.

Cope said he encourages seniors, and those who take care of seniors, to take extra precautions during the flu season, including receiving a flu vaccine, taking basic daily preventative measures like washing hands, encouraging physical activity, and paying attention for early symptoms.

These precautions are simple, as well. Staying active can be as basic as taking a walk in a public place, or doing simple strength training exercises at home. These activities can boost immunity.

Other simple preventative measures can include avoiding those who are already sick, avoiding contact the eyes and face and making sure seniors don’t miss scheduled doctor’s appointments.

Contrary to rumors, Cope also said there’s no risk when it comes to seniors getting flu shots, such as the flu shot will give you the flu.

“There’s a lot of rumors,” he said. “It’s just not true.”

Getting the word out about basic precautions is the best way to combat the flu season, which Cope suspects will be just as dangerous as usual.

“It’s still early in the flu season, and we haven’t seen a lot of it yet,” Cope said. “I would assume statistics will probably be similar.”

 

FLU SYMPTOMS

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Dry cough
  • General aches and pains
  • Headache
  • Exhaustion