Influenza: advice and recommendations for seniors

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Influenza or « flu » is a viral seasonal illness that affects the respiratory tract. Influenza occurs globally with an annual attack rate estimated at 5%–10% in adults and 20%–30% in children. Flu activity is currently (February, 3rd) widespread in most of the United States.

Influenza viruses can be especially dangerous for people over 65, among others. Epidemics are more likely to spread in collective accommodations (retirement homes, nursing homes…).

How can influenza and its complications be recognized and prevented?

What are the symptoms of flu?

The symptoms of flu can last from a day to two weeks. They appear in the form of:

  • Fatigue, muscle soreness,
  • Fever, chills,
  • Headaches, sore throat, sneezing,
  • Dry coughing, runny nose and chest pain,
  • In some cases, nausea and vomiting.

You’ll need to consult your general practitioner as soon as the first symptoms appear.

Influenza prevention measures

  1. Reinforce your immunity system
    • Have a healthy diet by changing your eating habits if necessary
    • By reducing your consumption of caffeine, sugar and alcohol.
    • Work out on a regular basis.
    • Sleep well.
    • Reduce your stress.
  2. Get a vaccination (this has to be done every year)
  3. Wash your hands several times a day (especially after being on common transportation or after going to a public space); avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  4. Get away from infected persons in order to avoid being infected.
  5. If ill, try not to go out, cough on your sleeve in order not to infect your relatives.

Flu vaccination is highly recommended for the elderly

0002780017OO-1920x1280-1024x682The influenza virus mutates every year. Therefore, vaccination campaigns take place every year between October and January. Seniors are a high-risk population: people over 65 are highly encouraged to get a vaccination every year.

Please take note that vaccination takes effect two weeks after it gets done.

Could you get ill even with vaccination?

The vaccine protects against the influenza virus; however, weaker people can still get infected regardless if they got immunization or not. In that case, the vaccine can halp avoiding complications that may lead to death.


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