It’s that time of year again. The coughs and the runny noses are wreaking havoc once again. As a caregiver, you already know how to prevent your client from getting sick by you. Though your client can catch a common cold or the flu from other areas like family members, visitors, and children. When senior citizens get the cold or the flu, it can cause serious issues with some serious consequences. When we age, our immune systems are as strong as they once were. It doesn’t affect the elderly in the same way it affects the younger crowd. Adults over the age of 65 have an increased risk of being hospitalized or even dying due to the flu.
There are several steps a caregiver can take to make sure their client (and the caregiver) don’t get sick during this season:
Make sure your client is getting enough sleep. Sleeping and getting adequate rest can help strengthen the immune system.
Wash your hands. You would be surprised how many surfaces a person’s hands touch on a daily basis without even noticing. Avoid touching the face as germs can spread easily this way. Hand washing throughout the day can keep many germs at bay.
Get a flu shot. To ensure you as a caregiver don’t get sick, get a flu shot. Encourage your client to also receive a flu shot. Adults over the age of 50 need to get the seasonal flu shot to ensure they stay healthy throughout the year.
Be careful around kids and anyone else who may be sick. Your elderly clients most likely love their children and grandchildren and love when they visit. During cold and flu season you may want to check to see if the individuals who are coming to visit have recently had an illness. If someone has an illness, you and your client may want to wear a protective mask as a preventative measure.
Maintaining good dental hygiene can play a major role in the wellness of an individual. Making sure your client is flossing and brushing their teeth is a must.
Staying active and eating healthy foods during cold and flu season can also help your senior client stay healthy. If your client is healthy, their immune system will be stronger which will help them fight different illnesses.
Sometimes, even when taking these steps to prevent an illness, your client will still get sick. If your client gets an illness, make sure they are getting plenty of rest. Keep petroleum jelly on hand if they get a chapped nose and keep them comfortable. Drinking plenty of liquids may also be the key to staying well. Provide the amount of comfort you would want if you became ill.
If your client becomes ill and the symptoms worsen, suggest going to a medical professional. The flu can often turn to pneumonia in older adults.
Signs to contact a medical professional are:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Violent vomiting
As a caregiver, the last thing you want for your client is for them to fall ill. By taking these measures and precautions and keeping a watchful eye on them, you can ensure your client stays well and maybe doesn’t get sick in the first place. Remember to always contact a medical professional if your client has not shown signs of improvement in 10 days, or if their symptoms worsen.