From December 6th through the 10th, it’s National Influenza Vaccination Week. Has your dad had his flu shot yet? If not, it’s time to address the importance of this yearly vaccination.
Flu season is starting to pick up and already close to two dozen states or U.S. territories are seeing a high rate of cases. Alabama, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia have the highest number of positive lab tests and many are seeing patients coming into hospitals for treatment.
What Is Influenza?
Influenza is the term for the flu virus. There are several different viruses that fall under the category of flu, and each year, medical professionals study which strains are most prominent in countries that are in the middle of winter while this side of the globe is in summer. Those strains go into the yearly flu vaccine.
Flu symptoms vary but typically include a cough, fever, aches and pains, and headache. It can worsen and lead to pneumonia in some individuals, and the body’s inflammatory response can lead to sepsis. If your dad gets the flu, it’s important that he talks to his doctor about medications that help his body fight it.
The Flu Shot Is Not 100% Effective
No vaccine is 100% effective at preventing disease. There’s always a slim chance that other strains not covered by the vaccination will hit this year. But, the flu shot does help lower the odds of having severe symptoms. It’s important that your dad gets his flu shot. If he hasn’t had it yet, make an appointment during National Influenza Vaccination Week.
If your dad gets the flu, he has to have someone checking in to make sure he’s okay. If he’s having a hard time getting a deep enough breath, take him to an urgent care clinic for an exam. Don’t wait and see if he improves.
Make sure he has plenty to drink. Bone broth, vegetable stock, juice, water, herbal tea, and seltzer are all good choices. He wants to stay hydrated. He may not want to eat, but it’s important for him to stay nourished, so fruit and yogurt smoothies may be helpful. Applesauce, fruit popsicles, and soups are all handy to keep on hand.
A Healthy Lifestyle Also Helps
Other ways to avoid the flu include a healthy diet, exercise, and basic hygienic practices. Is your dad able to do these things independently or could he use a helping hand? Arrange senior home care services to ensure he’s not struggling to complete important self-care tasks.
Senior home care aides can work with him to plan weekly menus. They’ll take him shopping and offer guidance by reading nutritional labels. Back at home, his caregivers can carry in groceries, put items away, and cook meals at the appropriate times.