October is an exciting month filled with pumpkin patches, scented candles, colored leaves, fuzzy sweaters, apple cider and pumpkin spice lattes, but along with it comes the flu. The CDC, monitor flu activity and recommend getting vaccinated early in the season, ideally by the end of October. The flu can be dangerous for some of our loved ones but here is how you can stay healthy and prevent the spread!
What is the flu?
The flu, short for influenza, is a highly contagious viral infection that primarily affects the respiratory system. The influenza virus is easily transmitted from person to person through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person talks, coughs, or sneezes. Additionally, the virus can spread by touching a contaminated surface or object then spreading to mouth, nose or eyes.
Who should get vaccinated?
Everyone should consider getting the vaccine, but there are certain groups that are at higher-risk of complications and the close contacts of those high-risk individuals. The CDC recommends young children especially those under 5 years old, elderly individuals 65 and up and healthcare workers.
How does the flu effect the elderly?
The flu (influenza) can have a more significant impact on the elderly population compared to younger age groups. The elderly are considered a high-risk group for complications from the flu due to several factors, including age-related changes in the immune system and a higher likelihood of having underlying health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory disorders, which can be exacerbated by the flu. The flu can increase the risk of complications related to these conditions, making management more challenging.
How is Generations helping keep residents and staff protected from the flu?
A high percentage of our residents fall into the high-risk category, this is why we have facilitated access to flu vaccines for all staff & residents. Mandatory vaccines for staff are administered at the facility through an outside clinic that comes in to make the process fast and convenient, or with their own outside healthcare provider. The facility also takes preventive measures like keeping the facility clean and restricting visitation for those that are experiencing symptoms. Residents are also highly encouraged to participate in the in-house vaccination and educated on the risks of contracting the flu and practices to keep their immune system as strong as possible.
In an average year, thousands of people in the United States die from flu, and many more are hospitalized. Flu vaccine prevents millions of illnesses and flu-related visits to the doctor each year. It is important to provide our staff with the necessary tools to practice the best care possible for our patients that entrust us with their healthcare.