Infection Prevention: Steps for Safeguarding Seniors During Flu Season
As the body ages, we become less able to resist disease and infections, from lung to wound infections. Those external factors like viruses and bacteria are harder to fight off. Therefore, defense strategies become the key to seniors' health, especially during the flu season.
As we enter the flu season, it becomes ever more important for senior caregivers to understand infection prevention for the seniors in their care. Here at Elite Home Health Care, we are dedicated to helping all seniors and caregivers stay safe this flu season. We are here to share a few guiding tips for CDPAP caregivers to prevent senior infections during the winter and all year long.
Understanding Seniors' Vulnerability to Infections and the Flu
Seniors have an increased vulnerability to infections because their immune systems are not as robust as they used to be. The bone marrow produces fewer white blood cells and there is less energy in the body to fight off infections once they occur.
It is increasingly important to prevent infections before they happen and to be prepared to provide immune support if a senior is exposed to a potentially infectious environment.
Proactive Measures for Infection Prevention at Home
Flu season defense for seniors involves a variety of proactive measures done at home. The best way for caregivers to prevent infection in seniors is with a comprehensive clean-house and lifestyle approach. Reducing the risk that viruses or bacteria can survive in your senior's environment will reduce their risk of exposure and illness.
Keep a Clean and Sanitized House
Keep the house spotlessly clean. Wipe down surfaces with a sanitizing solution, dust and mop the corners, and clean storage areas. Don't give germs anywhere to hide—clean regularly to minimize any exposure.
Wash Hands and Surfaces Constantly
Build a robust habit of constantly washing your hands and wiping down surfaces. Encourage seniors to wash their hands regularly and apply moisturizer to counteract regular exposure to soap and hard water.
Throw Out Expired or Questionable Foods
Flu season defense also involves the food that our senior loved ones eat. Do not risk food poisoning of any type. If a food has passed expiration, smells off, or was left out too long, throw it away.
Keep a Safe Distance From Family With the Flu
If friends or family get sick, ask them to keep a distance or wear a mask when visiting seniors.
Treat Wounds Immediately and With Great Care
If a wound occurs, show extra care in cleaning and dressing the wound each day. Use antibiotic ointment and wrap the wound in a clean bandage at least twice a day. Consider plastic wrap over the bandage for all-day protection.
Keep Skin Clean and Dry
Help to keep your senior's skin clean and dry to avoid an environment that can foster skin infection.
Bathe and Brush Pets More Regularly
If your senior has pets, keep them extra clean, especially after outside time. Bathe pets weekly and brush them daily.
Get Recommended Vaccinations
Flu season defense also involves vaccinations. Caregivers and seniors should both get recommended vaccinations to keep infections outside the home.
Comprehensive Flu Season Defense for Seniors
What can you do to prepare specifically for the flu season ahead? CDPAP caregivers can help seniors stay away from the flu with a few helpful infection-prevention steps.
- Get the Flu Vaccine
- Make sure you get the flu vaccine together as soon as it becomes available in your community.
- Bundle Up When Going Outdoors
- Keep your senior warm during the winter with comfortable sweaters and proper indoor heating. Make sure seniors bundle up properly when going outside.
- Eat a Balanced and Immune-Boosting Diet
- Keep seniors healthy by choosing an immune-boosting diet with plenty of citrus and leafy greens.
- Stay Active
- Lastly, help seniors stay active. Daily physical activity also fosters greater energy to do daily tasks and to fight off infections.
Helping Caregivers Keep Seniors Safe This Flu Season
Infections are at peak risk for seniors in the winter during the flu season. Caregivers are responsible for taking preventative measures to keep infections at bay. You can protect your senior from infections this year with the help of these useful flu season defense strategies.
Ensure your loved one's safety. Inquire about our services where we offer quality care in the comfort of your own home. All our caregivers are certified and specialize in either elderly care or caring for the disabled. Our team of professionals comprises certified home health aides, personal care aides, nurses, therapists, licensed clinical social workers and dieticians. Whatever your individual in-home care needs are, our team of selected caregivers will be able to help you.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.