This FS Will Protect Your Seniors During Flu Season and COVID-19 Pandemic
By: Rosemarie Tamunday Casanova — RN, BSN, MHA
For over some months now, the fear of getting COVID-19 infection still hangs over our head. Like the sword of Damocles. This year's fall means we are also entering the Flu season. And that hanging sword seems to have been sharper and heavier ready to strike us anytime soon.
So what's the point of saying this? Well, it's because the Flu season starts in Fall. And this year, the still continuing COVID-19 pandemic will further complicate the situation. Remember, Coronavirus and the Flu are both contagious viral diseases.
Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs.
COVID-19, on the other hand, is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered strain of coronavirus. It is a type of virus known to cause respiratory infections in humans.
Both of these viruses can cause mild to severe illness. It can result in hospitalization, and at times can lead to death.
Senior people are at high risk of serious Flu complications. Young children under 5 years old, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are also at high risks.
HOW ARE THESE VIRUSES SPREAD?
Most experts believe that Flu viruses spread mainly by tiny droplets made when people with Flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby.
Less often, a person might get the Flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes.
The same thing happens to COVID-19. Droplets from coughing and sneezing and close human contact likely transmit the coronavirus. The respiratory droplets are absorbed into the body through the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and eyes. The virus is likely to remain active in the environment for several days.
Some infections can be spread by exposure to viruses in small droplets and particles. It can linger in the air for minutes to hours. These viruses may be able to infect people who are further than 6 feet away from the person who is infected or after that person has left the space.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF FLU?
Influenza (Flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu is different from a cold. Flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have Flu often feel some or all these symptoms:
- Fever* or feeling feverish/chills
- Sore throat
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Muscle or body aches
- Fatigue (tiredness)
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
*It’s important to note that not everyone with the flu will have a fever.
The time from when a person is exposed and infected with flu to when symptoms begin is about 2 days. But it can range from about 1 to 4 days.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU HAVE THESE SYMPTOMS?
If you or your elderly have a fever, cough, congestion, sneezing, sore throat, runny nose, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, stay home. Call your doctor and follow his or her recommendation. It is likely that he or she will recommend that you are tested for the flu and COVID-19.
FLU PREVENTION DURING CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC
So how do we avoid the Flu and other illnesses during the coronavirus pandemic? The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has all the information about the Flu that we all need to know. Flu diagnosis, treatment and prevention are some of their highlights.
According to them, the best way to prevent the Flu is by getting vaccinated each year. Get your Flu Shot preferably in September or October as the Flu is most active from November through March, and the vaccine lasts about six months. The vaccine becomes fully effective about two weeks after it is administered.
Primary health care providers, such as doctors, clinics, and pharmacies administered Flu Shot. Make sure to schedule appointments to ensure safety precautions during the pandemic.
We stressed that it is more important than ever to get the Flu Shot this year. Any risk of catching coronavirus while out getting a Flu Shot is very low, as COVID-19 precautions will also help protect you from colds and flu.
These safeguards includes:
- Staying at least six feet apart from those you do not live with.
- Avoiding large indoor gatherings.
- Wearing a face mask when indoors with anyone you do not live with.
- Wearing a mask outdoors when you cannot remain six feet away from others.
- Washing your hands or using hand sanitizer frequently.
We all dream to live in a safe and healthy environments someday. To do our daily routine without worrying much about the impending threats to our health.
But, in today's situation, we cannot remove the fact that this dream will remain an intent until we started to act to make it happen.
Taking Flu Shot every year, especially during the fall season may be our first step. In the next period we will do another precautionary steps. All one at a time.
After all, as Dr. Phil McGraw says, "Life's a marathon, not a sprint.”