Flu Season and Falls Prevention
Monday, September 29, 2014
Flu Season is Starting—Don't Forget Your Flu Shot! Influenza (the "flu") is a contagious respiratory virus that can cause mild to severe illness. Older adults are among the people who are at high risk for serious flu complications. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), during a regular flu season, the majority of flu-related deaths occur in people 65 years and older.
The best way to prevent the flu is by getting a flu shot—which protects against annual influenza viruses—every year at the start of flu season (later summer/early fall). If you are a caregiver for an older adult, you should consider getting a flu shot too—it protects you, and the older person you care for.
And while we're talking about vaccinations... In addition to the flu shot, the AGS Health in Aging Foundation recommends the following vaccinations for most older adults:
- Shingles (Herpes Zoster)
The CDC also recommends additional shots for older adults who run an increased risk of these diseases because they have certain health problems, occupations, or lifestyles:
- Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR)
- Hepatitis A and B
- Meningococcal disease
Ask your healthcare provider if you should get any of these additional immunizations. Learn more.
Preventing Falls this Fall and Year-round
September hosts the annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day, led by the National Council on Aging, and this year's theme—Strong Today, Falls Free® Tomorrow—seeks to raise awareness to prevent fall-related injuries among older adults.
The chance of falling increases as people get older. Falls are a leading cause of serious injuries in older adults that can lead to hospitalization, nursing home admission, and even death among older people. Older adults and those caring for an older person are recommended to follow the steps below, and also to get a "falls checkup" on a regular basis from their healthcare provider:
- Tell your healthcare provider if you have fallen
- Review with your healthcare provider all medications you are taking
- Work with your healthcare provider to make a Falls Prevention Plan
- Make your home safe from falls