The cold winter months can bring about an assortment of illnesses; the main one being the flu. Seniors are at a higher risk of contracting the flu than younger generations are; therefore, it is important to take the necessary precautions in trying to prevent the illness in our aging loved ones. We can remind our senior family members to watch their hands frequently, get a flu shot, dress warmly when going out, and to eat healthy; however, sometimes they will still contract the flu. In the event that our senior loved ones do get the illness, it is important that we or a home care companion take watch over them and be sure they are getting the proper care.
If our senior loved ones begin to feel ill, some of the signs or symptoms that they have the flu might include the following:
- A fever – Sometimes a fever can reach as high as 102 to 104 degrees and last for a few days.
- Body aches – Body aches can sometimes be very severe, and for those seniors with arthritis, the pain in the joints can be more intense than normal.
- Headache – A headache can range from being light to a throbbing headache. This can sometimes come on very suddenly and last for more than one day.
- Fatigue and body weakness – Fatigue and weakness in the body is usually one of the first signs of the flu and can last for several days or even weeks once all other symptoms are gone.
- Cough – A cough is often present in someone that has contracted the flu. It can get severe and last for quite some time after the other signs of the illness are gone.
- Diarrhea and vomiting – This will usually be present in more severe cases and more common in children; however, seniors are susceptible to having these symptom as well.
- Sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing – These symptoms can sometimes be present with the flu, but are more common with the average cold.
When a family member is taking care of a senior loved one with the flu, it is important to take the senior’s temperature and be sure to record any information for a home care companion that might be coming into the home to help with care. If a fever is present, you can remove heavy blankets, be sure they are drinking plenty of fluids and getting plenty of rest. For body aches, headaches, and other symptoms, medication can be taken to help relieve symptoms. It is important to remember that a home care companion cannot administer medications so a family member or the senior themselves will have to handle this.
It is important to be sure a senior with the flu is getting plenty of fluids, resting, and staying comfortable. A family member or home care companion should keep a log of the symptoms and record any changes so that everyone caring for the senior is aware of what is going on. If symptoms seem to be worsening after a few days, you should consult a senior’s doctor for further instructions.
For more information about home care services in Clayton MO, contact Senior Services Unlimited. We are an elder care agency providing affordable and respectful home care to couples, veterans, and the disabled. Call (314) 646-8131.