Flu Season Is Here

Woman Blowing Her Nose

By Bradley Yee

Influenza, also known as the flu, is a viral infection.  It is contagious and the respiratory system is affected.  Its season normally lasts from October to March and peaks from December to February.

If a person has a chronic health problem, the flu can make it worse.  People with these challenges are more likely to get complications that are flu-related.  These include those with: asthma, diabetes, those with heart disease and those who have had a stroke, those with HIV or AIDS and those who have cancer.  If a person age 65 or over develops the flu, they are at greater risk of serious complications associated with the flu.

Dangers of pneumonia

According to renowned neurosurgeon and medical media reporter, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, the flu can definitely become pneumonia.  He writes, “About one-third of all pneumonia cases in this country are caused by respiratory viruses, most commonly influenza.”1  Moreover, in the elderly, pneumonia can be life threatening.

Get Your Flu Shot
The best way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone over the age of six get an annual seasonal flu vaccination.²

Information about the flu and vaccination for those over 65 years of age are at this link: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm.

In addition to the regular flu vaccine, there are two vaccines which help people ages 65 or older.  These are called the high dose vaccine and the Adjuvanted flue vaccine, Flua – made with MF59 adjuvant.  More information is available in the link provided from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention above.

Where to get vaccinated

The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department offers free/low cost flu vaccines.

Your doctor and area pharmacies also provide the regular flu vaccine and the high dose vaccine.  Please call to them to learn about prices and to schedule an flu vaccine appointment.

There are three locations of the San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department currently providing the free/low cost flu vaccines.

The flu vaccine is free if you have Medicare.  It is also free if you have Blue Shield PPO.

It costs $20 for the regular flu vaccine if you do not have the above.  The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department also provides the high dose vaccine.  If you have Medicare, the high dose vaccine is provided free at your request. If you do not have Medicare or Blue Shield PPO, the high dose vaccine is provided at an extra cost: $40 plus an administrative fee of $20 for a total of $60.

San Luis Obispo County

Public Health Department

San Luis Obispo

Telephone: 805-781-5500

2191 Johnson Avenue

San Luis Obispo

Hours: M-F call to make an appointment

Appointments: 8:15a – 4p (their office does not close for lunch)

Grover Beach 

Public Health Department

Telephone: 805-473-7050

286 S. 16th Street

Grover Beach

Hours: M –Th call to make an appointment.  They are closed on Fridays

Appointments: 8:15a-4p (office closed for lunch 12p – 1p)

Paso Robles

Public Health Department

Telephone: 805-237-3050

723 Walnut Drive

Paso Robles

Hours: M – F 8:15a – 4p (office closed for lunch 12p – 1p) call to make an appointment

The CDC also recommends that people age 65 and older also get pneumococcal vaccines.

People 65 and older should also be up to date with pneumococcal vaccination to protect against pneumococcal disease, such as pneumonia, meningitis, and bloodstream infections.³  Talk to your doctor to find out which pneumococcal vaccines are recommended for you.

How the virus is spread

 It is spread when a person inhales droplets coughed or sneezed out by an infected person or when there is direct contact with an infected person’s nasal secretions.4

 What can be done?

Practice good habits related to health. Get adequate rest. Eat a balanced diet. Exercise regularly – especially vigorous intense cardio exercise – first check with your doctor for your doctor’s recommendations on recommended exercise, based on your health.  This boosts your immune system – helping you to fend off the flu.

Hand cleaning

Elders may have direct contact with surfaces which may carry the influenza virus.  Hands are the major source of transmission of viruses, germs and bacteria.  Therefore, good hand hygiene is very effective in preventing infections and viruses.  Hands should be cleaned often.  The preferred method for good hand hygiene. is by rubbing them with an alcohol based hand cleanser formula.   Hand washing with soap and water is also recommended.

Teach and practice safe coughing and sneezing procedures

Cough or sneeze into a tissue, and placed the used tissue in the trash.  Clean or wash your hands immediately.  If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeves.  It is not recommended that you cough or sneeze into your hands, as the hands can easily transmit germs, bacteria or viruses.

Help if you need it

Christian Love Home Care is a licensed Home Care Organization, offering non-medical in-home assistance.  Our Home Care Aides can assist the elderly with helping elders practice good habits relating to health, thereby boosting their immune system and fending off influenza.  Please contact us if we may be of service to you:  Tel: 805-238-3500 email: bradleyy@christianlovehomecare.com

Sources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older

Available here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm

 

Jennifer C. McCarney, Administrative Assistant III

San Luis Obispo County Health Agency

2191 Johnson Avenue

San Luis Obispo, CA  93401

Tel: 805-781-5500

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Flu Season

Available here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season.htm

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

People Who Have Medical Conditions Are at High Risk of Developing Flu-Related Complications

Available here: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Flu and You

Available here:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/consumer/index.html

 

Merck Manuals, – Consumer Edition

Influenza (Flu)

Available here: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/viral-infections/influenza-flu

 

Paging Dr. Gupta

Q: Cant the flu turn into pneumonia?

Available here: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/paging-dr-gupta/can-flu-turn-into-pneumonia/

 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Coughing & Sneezing: Etiquette & Practice Hygiene

Available here: http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/hygiene/etiquette/coughing_sneezing.html

 

Footnotes

1Paging Dr. Gupta

Q: Cant the flu turn into pneumonia?

Available here: http://www.everydayhealth.com/columns/paging-dr-gupta/can-flu-turn-into-pneumonia/

 

²Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What You Should Know and Do this Flu Season If You Are 65 Years and Older

Available here:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/65over.htm

 

³ibid.,

 

4Merck Manuals, – Consumer Edition

Influenza (Flu)

Available here: https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/infections/viral-infections/influenza-flu

 

Medical Disclaimer

Christian Love Home Care, LLC is a non-medical home care agency.  Accordingly, information provided in this blog as well as on our website is for informational purposes only.  The information is not implied or intended to take the place of professional medical advice, treatment or diagnosis.  You are encouraged to always confirm any information from this website with professional medical advice.

 

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