Here’s How to Prepare for Flu Season During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic numbers in Florida are trending down as of early September, but health experts fear that they will rise again this fall and winter. 

In addition, the fall and winter brings us to the flu season, another serious potential threat to public health. In fact, about 8% of people get sick from the flu annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). An estimated 70% to 85% of flu deaths occur in people age 65 or older. 

Flu season usually begins in October and continues through December or January, although it can last until spring sometimes.

“This is a critical year for us to try to take flu as much off the table as we can,” according to CDC director Robert Redfield.

The flu shot also helps to keep you from getting so sick you end up in the hospital, which may need its beds for COVID-19 patients.

So, just what can the seniors in your life do to stay healthy while we experience both a pandemic and the 2020/2021 flu season? Here are a few tips.

1. Get the flu shot early. Doctors recommend getting the flu shot in September or October. This helps you to stay protected all flu season long. One exception: If you have an upcoming doctor’s appointment at a medical facility that offers the flu shot, don’t schedule two separate appointments. Wait to get the shot while you are there for your regular appointment. This not only saves you time, but it also limits your exposure to others during a vulnerable time.

The following website from the Florida Department of Health has links to various sites where you can get a flu shot, such as at CVS, Publix, and Walmart.

2. Continue your health hygiene measures, such as wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing your hands frequently. These are important to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but they also are useful in warding off the flu. Health experts aren’t sure yet if the health and social distancing measures in place now will make for an easier flu season.

3. Contact your doctor if you have flu symptoms. There are anti-viral medicines that can lessen the effect of the flu, but you need to start them within 48 hours of having symptoms. Symptoms include:

  • Body aches.
  • Chills.
  • A cough.
  • A fever.
  • Fatigue.
  • A headache.
  • In some people, GI symptoms such as diarrhea and vomiting.

4. Stay up-to-date with your pneumonia vaccine, which is recommended for those age 65 and over. It’s also recommended for people age 19 to 64 who smoke cigarettes. Although pneumonia doesn’t protect against COVID-19, it does help protect against some serious effects of the flu. Talk to your doctor about getting the pneumonia vaccine if you haven’t already.

5. If you think you are coming down with something, limit your contact with others. Advise those around you to do the same. 

Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management

At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients’ age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.

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