It’s that time of year again: cold and flu season!
According to Health Canada, every year there is an average of 12,200 hospitalizations and 3,500 deaths connected to the flu.
Meanwhile, seniors are particularly susceptible to getting the flu.
So for this blog, we thought we would educate you about influenza, how it specifically affects seniors, and what you can do to protect yourself.
#1: The flu is not the same as a cold
To know the differences, click here.
#2: Seniors are most at risk of getting the flu
Some people are more vulnerable to complications and hospitalization from the flu, including babies, young children, pregnant women…and seniors.
Why seniors? Because their immune systems are weaker and they are more likely to have an underlying condition that increases their risk of contracting the flu.
#3: The flu can decrease seniors’ independence
If seniors are bed-ridden for any period of time, they can lose up to five per cent of their functional muscle strength every day they are in that bed. This is especially true if they are hospitalized. As a result, they may be weaker after receiving treatment—and according to this article, may never regain the level of health they had before hospitalization.
#4: In Ontario, there are two vaccinations for seniors 65+
This flu season in Ontario, there are two different flu shots available for adults age 65 and over:
- Standard-dose vaccine: which protects against four strains of flu virus
- High-dose vaccine (also sometimes called “Fluzone® HighDose”): which protects against three strains of flu virus, but in higher doses
This study found the high-dose vaccine to be 24% more effective in helping prevent seniors from getting the flu than standard vaccines.
#5: Only 38% of adults got vaccinated last year
Why? Many adults didn’t think they needed the vaccine. However, the Public Health Agency of Canada says the following: “Even if you don’t think that you personally are at risk, it’s important to get the flu vaccine because you can also protect your loved ones, those who might be at a higher risk because of chronic diseases.”
On the positive side, about 71% of seniors were vaccinated last winter.
Live in Ottawa? Ottawa Public Health has information about upcoming flu shot clinics here.
#6: Basic hygiene practices can also help minimize your chances of getting sick
Check out this content from the Ontario government under “Other tips to avoid getting—and spreading—the flu.”
Tea & Toast wishes all seniors a happy, healthy and safe season!