October 7, 2022
Remember the flu? Considering that we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, it’s understandable if you’ve put influenza on your mental back burner.
The flu has not only been out of mind, but it’s also been largely out of sight. Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were a little over 2,000 cases of influenza in the US, according to the CDC. In a typical flu season, the US sees more than 200,000 cases in that same time frame. This decline was largely due to protective measures that were taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
While that’s positive news, last year’s hiatus from the flu has many experts concerned about what this year might bring. With protective measures being more relaxed and the lack of exposure to the flu during last season, we might be more susceptible to the virus when it returns. Older adults may be especially at risk.
At Arrow Senior Living, we all play a vital role in preventing the spread of influenza. The best way to protect yourself and prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated. While all age groups over six months remain priorities for vaccination, additional emphasis this flu season will be on adults at higher risk from COVID-19 complications. This includes adults with underlying illnesses and those considered to be immunocompromised.
It is important for our residents to receive the flu shot. People who are 65 years and older are at higher risk of developing serious complications from the flu. In fact, between 50% and 70% of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations have occurred among people 65 years and older. It’s estimated that between 70% and 85% of seasonal flu-related deaths have occurred in people 65 years and older.
It’s important to provide education to both residents and staff that the single most effective thing they can do to avert serious illness and flu-related complications is to receive the influenza vaccination. It’s also important to know that anyone can experience serious complications from the flu, even people who aren’t considered to be at high risk. Our teams within our communities are making it easy for our residents, as well as our staff to obtain this year’s vaccination by hosting their very own Flu Vaccine Clinics.
We can help prevent the flu and stop the spread by washing your hands often; covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze; avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth; staying home when you are ill; cleaning and disinfecting frequently; getting plenty of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, and drinking plenty of fluids!
To promote our flu clinics and increase participation from our staff and residents we will ensure that everyone in the communities are informed of the Flu Vaccine Clinics, as well as the time and day available. Posting frequent reminders and developing a strategy to assist all residents down to the clinic itself will be important, as well. It would be beneficial leading up to the Flu Clinics to provide a daily “Flu Fact” to residents and staff by presenting a statistic related to the flu, or to the flu vaccine.
Every one of us plays a vital role in preventing the spread of influenza. We are encouraging all eligible individuals to receive this year’s preventive vaccination. If you are unsure if you should receive the vaccine, please consult with your physician or healthcare provider.
Saint Charles, Missouri-based Arrow Senior Living manages a collection of communities that offer varying levels of care including independent living, assisted living, and memory care. Each and every senior living community supports residents by focusing on dignity, respect, and quality of life. The programs and amenities offered are selected to provide only the highest standard of quality and comfort.
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