Five Ways to Protect Yourself During Flu Season

It is important for all of us to do our best to stay healthy during the flu season. People 65 and older who pick up the flu virus run a greater risk of developing more serious complications than younger adults; so it is especially important to take precautionary measures to avoid the bug!

Caring, Latin descent home healthcare nurse gives vaccine or medicine injection to African descent senior adult patient at home, assisted living, or nursing home setting. She holds the syringe and wears protective gloves. The female patient happily receives the shot while sitting on her comfy sofa. Kitchen background.

We’ve put together five steps you can take to protect yourself from flu this winter.

1. Get Your Flu Shot

Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself against flu. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting your flu shot by the end of October. Didn’t get your shot yet? That is OK! If you receive your flu shot before January it can still help protect you from the virus.

The flu shot is the most important senior flu prevention, with research showing that people aged 50 and older who got a flu vaccine reduced their risk of being hospitalized with flu by 57%.

There are two vaccines that have been developed expressly for people 65 and older:

  • The “High Dose Vaccine”: Four times stronger than the regular vaccine, the high dose shot is has shown to reduce incidences of flu infection by 24%. It may cause some mild side effects such as pain or swelling at the injection site, headache, or muscle ache.
  • “Fluad”: Fluad is made with MF59 adjuvant and is designed to create an even stronger immune response to the injection. It has been shown to be 63% more effective than the standard flu shot, though like the high dose vaccine may result in mild side effects.

2. Ensure Your Loved Ones Are Protected, Too

Remind your friends and family members to get their annual flu shot to protect themselves and others from picking up the virus. Not only will it protect the older adults in their lives but it is especially important for protecting pregnant women, young children, and people with certain chronic medical conditions.

If they are unsure where to go for their flu shot they can search by zip code to find the nearest vaccination center on the website:

3. Stay Up To Date on All Vaccinations

In order to stay healthy during flu season, it is also important to ensure that you have received all vaccinations recommended for people over 65. Specifically, make sure you have received a pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumonia, meningitis, and other infections of the bloodstream. These diseases can arise as serious complications from flu, and can have particularly serious consequences for older adults.

4. Talk to Your Doctor

If you experience any flu-like symptoms see your doctor immediately. He or she can check for any complications and determine whether you should take antiviral drugs. Symptoms to look out for are: fever, headache, extreme tiredness, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, and chills. Some people may also experience stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhea.

5. Keep Up Healthy Habits

Always cover your mouth with a Kleenex or handkerchief when coughing, keep your hands clean by washing them with soap and water, and avoid close contact with people who are ill. Practice germ-stopping habits and think of flu prevention as a priority.

You can also boost your immune system by sticking to healthy eating habits, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

If you have any questions about aging or senior care, call our free information line on 415-449-3700