The National Influenza Vaccination Week calls all Americans six months and older to get their annual flu vaccine if they have not already. Flu remains a significant public health concern. This week reminds people that there is still time to get a flu vaccine – the only vaccine that protects against flu- to prevent flu illness and potentially severe complications. 

Flu Vaccine for Senior Man
Flu Vaccination

What is Influenza? 

Influenza (flu) is a contagious viral infection that causes mild to severe symptoms and life-threatening complications, including death, even in healthy children and adults. Influenza is a contagious infection of the nose, throat, and lungs that often occur in late fall, winter, and early spring in the U.S. Influenza viruses spread mainly from one individual to another through a cough or sneeze.

Less often, they can also spread through the touch of a contaminated surface and then get into contact with the face. Individuals can get others contaminated even before symptoms start and a week or more after symptoms begin.

In addition, individuals suffering from certain chronic conditions like asthma, diabetes, and heart disease are more likely to develop severe flu complications. 

Symptoms

Flu is not just a common cold. It usually comes suddenly, and people with flu may have some or all of the following symptoms; 

Fever

Headaches 

Chills 

Tiredness

Cough, runny or stuffy nose, 

Sore throat

Vomiting and diarrhea (most common in children than adults).

Treatment 

Annual flu vaccination remains the best way to prevent flu. Antiviral drugs are not a substitute for yearly flu vaccination; however, prescription antiviral medications serve as an additional line of defense. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (C.D.C.) recommends that all individuals hospitalized, severely ill, or at high risk for developing flu-related severe complications be treated with antiviral drugs immediately if flu is suspected.

Treatment of flu with antiviral drugs reduces influenza symptoms, shortens the duration of illness by one to two days, and prevents severe complications like pneumonia. Also, Antivirals work best when taken within 48 hours of getting sick but may still be effective when administered later in the course of illness.

Preventative measures for self-care 

A flu shot vaccination is the best way to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your community from the flu every year. The best time to be vaccinated is in the early fall before the virus spreads in your community. However, vaccination throughout the flu season can still be beneficial. The National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (N.C.I.R.D.) advises on essential preventive practices that home care workers should follow and teach patients and families. These include:

  • Open doors and windows when possible while indoors
  • Cleanse your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before touching the face or preparing food, after using the restroom, caring for patients, touching pets, handling a mask, or leaving a public place.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes 
  • Immediately discarding of used tissues
  • Daily, disinfect and clean high-touch surfaces, including keyboards, phones, counters, light switches, and sinks.
  • Stay alert for symptoms and check your body temperature if symptoms develop (avoid taking temperature within 30 minutes or after taking medications like Tylenol)

Does the Flu vaccine protect against Covid-19?

Given that COVID-19 is quite a new illness, there is little information about how Influenza might affect a person’s risk of getting COVID-19. We know that people can be infected with the flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 simultaneously. Getting a flu vaccine is the best protection against flu and its potential complications, the same as getting a COVID-19 vaccine is the best protection against COVID-19.

In case of any preoccupation, your professional health care can order a test to help check and confirm whether you have flu or COVID-19, or some other illness.

Home care agency’s role during this season 

Flu season has arrived, and it is the right time for agencies to make sure their employees and recipients are aware of the threat. On a typical day in the United States, the number of patients cared for at home is nearly three times the number hospitalized.

The home care agencies comprise skilled nursing and other professionals and far more paraprofessionals, who provide personal assistance with bathing, toileting, cooking, and housekeeping. An essential aspect of care is providing comfort and companionship to individuals who may be isolated, disoriented, disabled, or aged.

If your policies have not already been reviewed and related procedures to infection control and prevention for your clients and employees, the time is now to make sure your home care agency is prepared for this flu season. Staff communication and messaging are essential for the adoption of the necessary protocols.

Aged care
Aged care

Comfort Paradise H.C.A. responds to your needs.

Despite all the precautions taken, do you still have the flu? The last thing you should do is risk contaminating your loved ones, parents, or entourage.  Are you in need of Respite care?  No worries, Comfort Paradise home care agency can provide you with professional, well-trained, and dedicated Respite care, who will assist you in taking good care of your parents or loved one within the time off needed to recover from the flu. All you need to do is contact us, and we got you covered while you recover.

For more information, Contact us; 

Comfort Paradise Home Care 

Cell: 323-844-0707 

Fax: 213-238-5575 

Web: https://comfortparadisehc.com

Email: [email protected] 

REFERENCES

Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center promoting National …. https://www.nny360.com/communitynews/healthmatters/claxton-hepburn-medical-center-promoting-national-influenza-vaccine-week/article

Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 …. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm

Flu (Influenza) – National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. https://www.nfid.org/infectious-diseases/iinfluenza-flu/Frequently Asked Influenza (Flu) Questions: 2021-2022 https://www.cdc.gov/flu/season/faq-flu-season-2021-2022.htm

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