Hello to all, I hope everyone is in good health. It is that time of year to start thinking about the flu vaccination. Please stop in my office to sign consent regardless if you have your loved one vaccinated for this year’s flu season or not. It has been recognized for many years that people 65 and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared with young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age. In addition to getting the flu shot, people 65 years and older should take the same preventative actions the CDC recommends for everyone, including covering coughs, washing hands often and avoiding people who are sick. Flu systems include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever. Treatment includes the following: 1. Treatment should begin as soon as possible because antiviral drugs work best when started early. (within 48 hours after symptoms start) 2. For you to get an antiviral drug, a doctor needs to write a prescription. 3. Antiviral drugs can make your flu illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious health problems that can result from flu illness. 4. There are 3 FDA – approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by CDC this season that can be used to treat the flu. Diabetes, asthma and chronic heart disease are among the most common long-term medical conditions that place people at high risk of serious flu complications. It is particularly important that all adults with these or other chronic medical conditions receive a flu vaccine every year. It is also important that if you are sick to stay home until you feel better, do not come to the nursing home to visit your loved one until you feel better. Another safeguard is proper handwashing with soap and water during cold and flu season to prevent the spread of infection.

Cathy Shimek RN-BC, MSN, DON