Our immune system and other body functions change with age, making adults over 65 years old at higher risk of developing complications associated with the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “between 50 percent and 70 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people [65 years and older].”
Regardless of your age, every individual must implement precautions and ways of staying safe throughout flu season. When you protect yourself from the flu, you are also protecting those you care about and everyone around you.
“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, reducing the spread of respiratory illnesses, like flu, this fall and winter is more important than ever (cdc.gov).”
Oaks Senior Living communities are located throughout Georgia, and we make the health and safety of residents, their family members, and our team members a top priority. Our team is sharing some of the simple ways you can help keep yourself and your family healthy and safe through this flu season.
Get the Flu Vaccine
One way that Oaks helps to protect the health of residents and team members is by administering vaccines each flu season. According to the CDC, “recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60% among the overall population during seasons when most circulating flu viruses are well-matched to the flu vaccine.”
Additionally, according to aging.com, “vaccinated people over the age of 50 were found to be 57 percent less likely to be hospitalized from the flu than non-vaccinated people. The hospitalization rates were similar for people over the age of 75, as well.”
How does the flu vaccine work?
Research is conducted each year to determine the most common strands of the flu for that season. The flu vaccine causes the body to develop antibodies against the specific virus(es) that the vaccine was made with. Because our immunity against previous flu strands fades over the course of a year, along with the development of new strands, getting a flu vaccine on an annual basis is the most effective way to prevent the flu.
Wash Your Hands Often
A common way that the flu is spread is through contact with the virus on surfaces. Frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs and handles, as well as light switches and countertops, can be easy places to come in contact with the flu.
Along with keeping these surfaces as clean as possible, wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to kill cold and flu germs, especially after touching a commonly touched surface.
Avoid Touching Your Face
We often touch our faces without even realizing we do it; however, this is a common way for cold and flu germs to enter into your system. Your hands touch a lot of surfaces. Just walking through your home, you are bound to touch a doorknob or a light switch. Even if you wash and sanitize your hands with intense dedication, it is still a good idea to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as much as possible – especially during flu season.
Boost Your Immune System
You can practice every safety tip for preventing the flu, but if your immune system is weak, your efforts will be of little to no help. When you have a strong immune system, you can better fight off infections, even if you are exposed to the flu.
To learn how you can naturally boost your immune system this flu season, read our blog, “7 Natural Ways to Boost Your Immune System.”
Stay Home When You Are Sick
“People with flu are most contagious in the first three to four days after their illness begins. Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick (cdc.gov).”
Common symptoms associated with the flu include fever, chills, muscle aches, congestion, runny nose, and fatigue. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to separate yourself from others. Stay home from work, school, and avoid running errands to help limit the spread of illness.
Oaks Senior Living’s goal during flu season, and all year round, is to keep every member of our Oaks family safe and healthy. We have increased our safety measures and work hard to ensure that these guidelines are being implemented in every aspect of our communities.
For more information on these practices or our senior living communities throughout Georgia, contact a member of our team.