Influenza is not just a fancy name for a cold. While the common cold and the flu are both caused by viruses, a cold is usually harmless while the flu is potentially life-threatening. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that between 9 and 35 million people get the flu every year in the United States. Between 140,000 and 710,000 of these people will require hospitalization – and between 12,000 and 56,000 will die.
Flu season peaks between December and February, though you can still get the flu as early as October and as late as May.
The flu is highly contagious, especially in the first 3 to 4 days after infection with the virus, but symptoms can begin anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection. That means that you can get the flu from someone who doesn’t even appear to be sick. Moreover, some people can be infected with the flu virus, not become sick themselves, but still be able to spread the virus and make other people sick.
What is the best way to avoid this dangerous virus? Getting vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of six months get vaccinated every year against that year’s flu strain. It is especially important for seniors to be vaccinated, because they are at high risk of developing complications from the flu. People who have medical conditions, including asthma, heart disease, diabetes, liver or kidney disorders, or weakened immune systems are also more likely to have serious complications if they get the flu.
Don’t like to get shots? There’s still no excuse for getting vaccinated against the flu: the vaccine is available as a nasal spray. And, no, it’s not any less effective than the injectable vaccine!
The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices, health clinics, and even at pharmacies and some schools.
At Tower Lodge Care Center, in Wall, NJ, we specialize in geriatric care, and that means taking adequate protection against anything that might put our residents at risk, including the flu.
Tower Lodge Care Center offers long-term care, rehabilitative care, short-term rehab, respite care for those times when family members just need a break, and hospice care.
Better yet, contact us, at 732-681-1400, or by clicking here to schedule a tour.