Flu season is just around the corner and it is essential to prepare and be aware of the risks of Influenza in aged care.
Influenza (or the flu) is a highly contagious viral infection that spreads easily from person to person. Flu is often caused by type A or B influenza viruses that infect the upper airways and lungs.
Flu is not the same as a common cold. It can be a very serious illness. For some people, particularly young children, the elderly and those with medical conditions, the flu can cause serious complications. These complications can often require hospitalisation, and in severe cases can lead to death. Those over 65 are particularly at risk.
2017 resulted in a number of deaths in aged care facilities due to influenza. 1,733 cases of influenza were reported in 1 week alone in South Australia last year. The total number of reported cases doubled the average over the past 5 years.
Aged care facilities are high-risk environments for influenza due to communal living, continual close proximity of residents and staff and numerous visitors entering the building each day. It’s important to avoid situations where those who are frail with low immunity are put at risk from others who may be infected.
What you can do to protect residents and loved ones this flu season
Know the symptoms and do not visit if you are experiencing the following:
- Sudden onset of fever
- muscle and joint pain (Soma Carisoprodol)
- sore throat
- runny or stuffy nose
Get your Flu Vaccination
It is important to get the influenza vaccination each year to continue to be protected as it wears off after 3 to 4 months. Flu strains also change over time.
Are vaccines safe?
Vaccines are rigorously tested on thousands of people in progressively larger clinical trials which are monitored for safety.
In Australia, every vaccine must pass stringent safety testing before the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) will register it for use. Common reactions to vaccines are generally mild and temporary. These reactions can include localised pain, redness and swelling at the injection site and sometimes a low grade fever. Serious reactions such as severe allergic reactions are extremely rare.
Immunisation is one of our most significant achievements. It saves around 3 million lives world-wide each year and helps to prevent outbreaks and hospitalisations from vaccine-preventable diseases. Protect your loved one by ensuring vaccinations are given on time.
How else can we avoid contracting the Flu?
- Wash your hands – In addition to vaccination, good hygiene is one of the best ways to help prevent colds and flu from spreading. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water.
- Cover coughs and sneezes – Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
- Bin your tissues – Throw disposable tissues in the bin immediately after using them.
- Avoid sharing – Don’t share cups, plates, cutlery and towels with other people, if you can.
- Keep surfaces clean – Clean surfaces such as your keyboard, telephone and door handles regularly to get rid of germs.
“Prevention is always better then cure”
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