Flu season has officially begun. The dreaded illness arrives around September and remains active into May. So, when is the best time to get a flu shot?
Now. Getting the shot early helps the body build up immunity to the virus, a process that takes about two weeks.
A flu shot is the best defense against the flu, particularly for seniors
A flu shot is especially important for older adults and those with certain health conditions, according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). These individuals are at higher risk for serious complications, which can lead to hospitalization and even death. Yet, the CDC says that a third of Americans over age 60 don’t get a flu shot.
That’s surprising because getting immunized against the flu is easier than ever. Flu shots are covered by most health insurance and are available at doctor’s offices, pharmacies and urgent care centers. Seniors without insurance can generally get a free flu shot at a public immunization site or at a local senior center.
Country Meadows Retirement Communities hosts on-campus flu shot clinics for all residents as part of our senior care services. We also offer free flu shots to all our co-workers and educate our housekeeping, direct care and dining staff on how to clean thoroughly, care properly and serve meals to reduce flu germs and avoid spreading them.
Tips for guarding against the flu and minimizing its symptoms
The CDC advises that good health habits can help stop flu germs:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- If you’re ill, keep your distance from others. Stay home from work, school and errands.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands can help protect you from germs.
- Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth after touching something that may be contaminated with germs.
- Practice other good health habits. Get about eight hours of sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.
Because our top priority is the health and well-being of our residents, we ask that visitors with cold or flu symptoms refrain from visiting our retirement communities until they are well.
The most common symptoms of the flu are fever, headache, fatigue, achiness, cough, sore throat and runny or stuffy nose. Stomach-centered symptoms can also accompany the flu.
If you have flu symptoms, get lots of rest and drink plenty of liquids. You may benefit from over-the-counter pain relievers, fever reducers and antihistamines, but check with your physician before taking them. Some of these medications can interact with prescription drugs.
If symptoms get worse or don’t improve after several days, or if you have trouble breathing, see your doctor. Flu has the potential to lead to pneumonia, dehydration or complications of chronic conditions such as asthma, emphysema and heart disease.
Ask us about the senior care services at Country Meadows
In providing senior care services to residents, the Country Meadows staff attends to every aspect of our residents’ health and well-being. If you are choosing a retirement community near you, please consider us and contact us any day of the week. We can show you around any of our retirement homes and introduce you to our full range of senior care services that one of our caring communities could offer you or your loved one. We have 10 Pennsylvania retirement homes—in Lancaster, Hershey, Mechanicsburg, Pittsburgh, Wyomissing, York-South, York-West, Allentown, Bethlehem and Easton—as well as a retirement community in Maryland, in Frederick.