Flu Warning Signs

Although the coldest weather of the year may be behind us, constant rain, wind and still cool temperatures can still cause the sniffles. And, in some cases, something much worse: the flu.

The flu is currently categorized as widespread in the state according to the Washington State Department of Health. Vaccinations are recommended for everybody 6-months-old and older, but it might be too late in the season to get one now.

How to Combat the Flu

Elderly with Flu Systems

Catching flu symptoms early is key for our elderly loved ones.

There are some simple steps to help combat the flu – such as covering your mouth when you cough, washing hands often, and avoiding people who are sick. To prevent germs from entering the body, avoid touching eyes, nose, or mouth. Plenty of rest, eating well (with plenty of vegetables), and managing stress will also help keep the flu at bay.

But what if an older loved one already has the flu, or may be on the verge of getting the flu? If not treated early enough, the flu can develop into pneumonia, especially in the people 65-years-old and over. The virus, in extreme cases, can even cause death the older the person gets.

Be Aware of the Symptoms

Catching flu symptoms early is key. If an older parent or loved is experiencing long periods of difficult breathing or shortness of breath, pain the stomach or chest, abrupt dizziness and continuous vomiting, seek professional medical help. If your parent is becoming dehydrated, they may be coming down with the flu. Headaches, dizziness, inability to urinate, and vomiting can be signs. In addition, if other conditions (heart problems, emphysema, or asthma) seem to be worsening, a doctor visit may be in order.

If these symptoms seem to persist, the flu may be progressing to pneumonia. Watch for shaking chills, high fever, or excessive sweating can be early warning signs of pneumonia. To help prevent this once the flu has been diagnosed, make sure your parents or older loved ones drink plenty of fluids, a lot of rest, and avoid cigarettes and alcohol. And a visit to the doctor is a must.

Recovering from the Flu

During the recovery period, it’s important to keep seniors comfortable and as free of stress as possible. Help around the house, prepare healthy food, and make sure they stay on schedule with their medications. All of these steps will help your parent back on their feet within two weeks. Knights of Pythias Retirement Center offers a tray delivery service of noon and supper meals to residents who are ill for up to 30 days. This is a way to keep germs from spreading as well.

Even though Spring is scheduled to begin in less than a month, the cold, wet, windy conditions are still present. make sure your loved one is taking steps to keep the flu bug away.