The Elderly And The Flu

The flue and the elderly   Cause, treatment, and prevention
The flu and the elderly Cause, treatment, and prevention

The year 2020 has been a terrible year for everybody and especially for the elderly regarding the virus COVID 19 but normally the flu seasons are also devastating even though there are flu shots that are available.

So  in this post, I will be looking at the  flu and the elderly population

What is the flu?

The flu (influenza) is a seasonal virus that causes mild to severe symptoms. Some people recover in about a week, while others can be at risk of serious, life-threatening complications. There are many strains of the virus

The risk of complications increases if you’re over the age of 65. Older adults tend to have a weaker immune system, which naturally occurs as we age. And when your immune system isn’t strong, it becomes harder for the body to fight off a virus.

Symptoms Of the flu

When a flu infection worsens, it can progress to pneumonia and lead to hospitalization, and sometimes death.

The onset of flu symptoms can happen quickly, with some people developing symptoms 1 to 4 days after exposure to the virus.

The symptoms of the flu can be mistaken as the common cold and it’s important that you know how to differentiate flu symptoms from common cold symptoms.

Flu and cold symptoms can be similar, but cold symptoms are usually milder. In addition, cold symptoms come on gradually.

It’s different from the flu. Not only is the onset of symptoms abrupt, but the flu also causes symptoms that might not occur with the common cold.

Symptoms of the flu and common cold include:

  • runny nose
  • congestion
  • sore throat
  • coughing

If you have the flu, additional symptoms may include:

  • fever
  • body aches
  • chills
  • fatigue
  • weakness
  • chest discomfort
  • headache

If you’re over the age of 65 and develop any of these flu symptoms, see a doctor right away to reduce the risk of complications.

If you see a doctor within the first 48 hours of your first symptom, your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. When taken early, this medication can reduce the duration and severity of your illness.

Treating the flu symptoms

The flu (influenza) is a seasonal virus that causes mild to severe symptoms. Some people recover in about a week, while others can be at risk of serious, life-threatening complications.

The risk of complications increases if you’re over the age of 65. Older adults tend to have a weaker immune system, which naturally occurs as we age. And when your immune system isn’t strong, it becomes harder for the body to fight off a virus.

When a flu infection worsens, it can progress to pneumonia and lead to hospitalization, and sometimes death.

If you’re over the age of 65, here’s what you need to know about the flu, including symptoms, complications, and prevention.

What are the symptoms of the flu?

The onset of flu symptoms can happen quickly, with some people developing symptoms 1 to 4 days

after exposure to the virus.

If you become sick, it’s important that you know how to differentiate flu symptoms from common cold symptoms. Flu and cold symptoms can be similar, but cold symptoms are usually milder. In addition, cold symptoms come on gradually.

It’s different from the flu. Not only is the onset of symptoms abrupt, but the flu also causes symptoms that might not occur with the common cold.

What are flu complications?

Flu complications aren’t as common in younger people and those with a healthy immune system. But up to about 85 percent

seasonal flu-related deaths occur in people who are 65 years or older.

Additionally, up to about 70 percent

flu-related hospitalizations occur in the same age group.

Some flu-related complications aren’t as severe and may include sinus or an ear infection. More serious complications can include bronchitis and pneumonia, which affect the lungs.

Bronchitis occurs when inflammation develops in the lining of the bronchial tubes. These are the tubes that carry air to the lungs. Symptoms of bronchitis can include:

  • coughing up yellow, gray, or green mucus
  • fatigue
  • shortness of breath
  • fever
  • chest pains

Bronchitis can lead to pneumonia, an infection that causes inflammation in the air sacs in one or both lungs. Pneumonia can cause chest pains, shortness of breath, and a severe cough.

In older adults, pneumonia can also cause a lower than normal body temperature, confusion, and nausea and vomiting.

Pneumonia is a serious complication. If left untreated, bacteria can get into the bloodstream and cause organ failure. This lung infection can lead to fluid accumulation in the lungs or a lung abscess.

Other complications that may occur with the flu include inflammation of the heart, brain, and muscles. It can also lead to multi-organ failure. If you live with asthma or heart disease, the flu virus can worsen these chronic conditions.

Don’t ignore severe symptoms that develop while battling the flu. See a doctor immediately if you have shortness of breath, chest pain, dizziness, vomiting, or mental confusion.

How to treat the flu

If you don’t see a doctor within the first 48 hours of symptoms, antiviral treatment for the flu is less likely to shorten the duration or reduce the symptoms of the infection. However, antiviral treatment may still be given if you have a high risk of complications.

There’s no cure for the flu, so the virus must run its course. Symptoms do respond to over-the-counter cold and flu medications, though. You can take ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) as directed for pain and fever.

It’s important to get plenty of rest to strengthen your immune system and fight the virus. By taking care of yourself at home, you should feel better within 1 to 2 weeks.

If you experience complications, your doctor may have to prescribe an antibiotic. This will treat a secondary infection, such as an ear infection, sinus infection, bronchitis, or pneumonia. You may also need a prescription cough suppressant for a severe cough.

How to prevent the flu

Prevention is the key to avoid the flu and its complications. Everyone should consider getting an annual flu shot, especially if you are age 65 and older.

If you fall in this age group, your doctor can give you the flu shot that’s recommended for all age groups, or a flu shot that’s designed specifically for people age 65 and older.

This includes the high-dose flu vaccine Fluzone, which builds a stronger immune system response following the vaccination.

Another option is the Flu shot, which is also designed to build a stronger immune system.

The flu shot isn’t 100 percent effective. But it can reduce the risk of the flu by 40 to 60 percent

.

Flu season is between October and May in the United States, so you should get a flu shot before the end of October. Remember, it takes about two weeks for the flu shot to be effective.

In addition to an annual, flu shot  there are other ways to protect yourself against the flu:

  • Avoid crowded areas.
  • Wear a face mask and steer clear of sick people while in public.
  • Wash your hands regularly with warm soapy water, or use antibacterial gel throughout the day.
  • Don’t touch your face, mouth, or nose with your hands.
  • Boost your immune system by eating a healthy diet, exercising regularly, and reducing stress.
  • Regularly disinfect surfaces in your home (light switches, doorknobs, telephones, toys).
  • Visit a doctor if you develop flu symptoms

Supplements That Boost Your Immune System

According to DR Josh  Axe the supplements that boost your immune systems are  Vitamins C, D3, A, E.and B6 along with minerals Zinc, iRON ANS Selenium.

The natural foods that supply these vitamins and minerals are carrot juice

  • pumpkin
  • sweet potato
  • red bell peppers
  • apricot
  • kale
  • spinach
  • collard greens

Along with the right supplements and foods there is also the need for fresh air, exercise and rest.

Please take care of yourselves boomers, my mother used to say  prevention is better than the cure.

You know your body best and you will know when something is wrong

Thank you so much for reading this post I do hope you found the information helpful, and I appreciate your questions and comments.

.NOTE:  This post includes affiliate links, which, if clicked on and a product purchased, I get a small commission (with no increase in cost to you)

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