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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Flu Jabs




As I waited in line at my GP surgery this morning I was reminded to book my flu jab, and the myths and facts of the flu jab.  Doctors surgeries are already sending out letters inviting patients to attend for their annual flu jab.   

With Winter officially on December 1st, many of us will be reminded that we are approaching ‘Flu Season’.

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness which can suddenly develop and is nasty for anyone of any age, young or old, but it has increased implications for the elderly and infirm.

Those aged 65years and older are at a greater risk of serious complications from Flu, such as pneumonia.  And the elderly have reduced cough and gag reflexes, as well as their immune systems being less effective.

In the, UK approximately 80 people die daily due to flu and its complications. However, it is not just the elderly at risk.  Those with chronic conditions are too.  It’s estimated that 90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalisations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.  

Nothing beats basic measures of hygiene and infection control to prevent catching and/or spreading flu. Practice good hand hygiene, avoid close contact with people who may have flu and cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze with a tissue.

If you care for or work within the Care Sector (mainly elderly care) it is also possible to buy a flu jab at your local Asda, Sainsbury’s or Tesco providing they have a pharmacy department and Local Chemists are also offering the opportunity to buy your flu jab.

Flu Symptoms include:


  • Fever Sudden, often high (102º to 104º F)

  • Lasts three days or more

  • Sudden Headache which may be severe

  • Body aches are usual and often severe

  • Sudden fatigue and weakness which can last 2 to 3 weeks

  • Coughs are common and may be severe although the elderly may cough less

  • Sore throat, sneezing and stuffy nose

Caring for someone elderly with flu

Adults over 65years of age may not have a fever when they develop flu and although colds and other viruses may cause similar symptoms, flu weakens a person much more. Most healthy people will feel better in about five to seven days but full recovery may take 23 weeks.

  • Ensure they drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated

  • Give paracetamol every four hours (check first that they are safe to take paracetamol if they are on prescription medications)

  • Don’t worry if the person does not want to eat, keeping them hydrated is more important.

  • Encourage rest during the worst part of the illness

  • Ensure you wash your hands or use an alcohol gel to remove germs every time you have been near your “patient”.

  • If their breathing becomes strained or erratic call the doctor, they may be developing pneumonia.
 


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