Working with In-Home Care Providers to Prevent Seasonal Flu

Working with In-Home Care Providers to Prevent Seasonal FluEvery year, five million people worldwide become ill with the flu. The most vulnerable populations? The very young and the elderly. Nursing-home residents are most at risk, but even those who live independently are susceptible. Luckily, up to 80% of deaths can be prevented simply by getting a flu shot. Those who come in contact with at-risk populations, such as in-home care workers, should also be vaccinated.

Aside from getting an annual flu shot, the Centers for Disease Control recommends a few preventative tactics everyone should practice to help avoid getting sick. Make sure your elderly relative knows to wash his or her hands frequently with soap and water, and to avoid touching his or her eyes, nose, and mouth, as those are the most frequent places viruses will invade.

If, even after having been vaccinated, your loved one becomes ill, there are steps they can take to reduce the severity of the illness. Antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Flumadine can lessen the symptoms and possibly prevent severe complications. However, they must be prescribed quickly – within 48 hours of the start of symptoms. In-home care staff should be diligent in watching for the signs of flu, which include sudden onset of high fever, dry cough, persistent headache, muscle aches, and sore throat.

Flu season is just around the corner. Contact your relative’s doctor to find out when vaccines will be available in their area, and make sure in-home care workers are vaccinated as well. With a little preventative medicine, the elderly can have a flu-free winter.

Originally posted 2010-09-27 14:00:00.

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Tim Colling

Tim Colling is the founder and President of A Servant's Heart In-Home Care, which provided in-home caregiving services in San Diego County, and also of A Servant's Heart Geriatric Care Management, which provided
professional geriatric care management services and long term care placement services in San Diego County. Tim has more than 30 years of experience in management in a variety of industries. He held a Certified Care Manager credential from the National Academy of Certified Care Managers. Tim is also a Certified Public Accountant (retired), and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from California State University at San Diego. In addition to writing blog posts here for the Servant’s Heart blog, Tim also is a regular contributor to HealthLine.com and to FamilyAffaires.com as well as blogs of other eldercare services provider companies. Finally, Tim is also the president of A Servant's Heart Web Design and Marketing, which provides home care marketing as well as website design and online marketing for those who serve the elderly and their families.

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