No one wants to get the flu. This unpleasant illness comes once a year around mid-fall and hangs in the air until about mid-spring. The current flu season is not quite done yet, which means the nasty bug can still be caught. As such, various precautions should still be followed in order to avoid getting the flu. This is especially important for seniors.
Human defenses weaken with age, so seniors are an at-risk group for getting the flu. If infected, they produce less antibodies or fighting agents. Because of this, seniors can have a harder time fighting off the virus, and are more likely to develop serious health complications like pneumonia. That’s why it’s paramount to do your best as a personal support worker to keep your clients safe during flu season. To find out how to do it, keep reading.
Get Your Flu Shot to Protect Your Clients From Harm
One of the best ways that seniors can prepare for flu season is to get their flu shot. However, it’s also important for professionals who work closely with seniors to get their flu shot as well. That includes PSWs, who can help to protect their clients by ensuring that they don’t become sick and spread the virus.
Since the flu virus changes a bit each year, so does the flu shot, which is why it should be taken annually. Optimally, everyone should get their flu shot by the end of October, but it’s possible to get it anytime before the flu season ends, even in spring. Remember, though, that it takes about two weeks for the immunity created by the flu shot to set in, so the sooner the better.
Use Your Personal Support Worker Training to Help Your Clients Maintain Good Hygiene
Maintaining proper hygiene and good health habits are important to preventing the spread of the flu virus. For professionals with personal support worker training this includes washing hands regularly with antibacterial soap and warm water. Just a little rinse isn’t enough, though. Hands should always be scrubbed for at least 15-20 seconds to ensure all germs are eliminated.
Germs can collect on the hands from surfaces like doorknobs, handrails, and countertops, so it’s also important to ensure all these are frequently cleaned as well. This will minimize the chances of germs surviving on these surfaces and spreading to others.
You can also instruct your clients to avoid touching their mouth, nose, and eyes. Touching any of these areas can spread germs to the respiratory system, where they can more easily attack the body.
Hydration, Nutrition, and Rest All Help Maintain a Healthy Immune System
Making sure your clients are properly looking after their immune systems by staying well hydrated, rested, and more is essential for protecting them from the flu.
Staying on top of hydration is especially important. Seniors can have a reduced sensation of thirst, which may lead to them forgetting to consume their recommended daily fluid intake. When working with clients after your PSW course, be sure to check that they are drinking enough water or other decaffeinated fluids. They can also get fluids from foods that have a high water content, such as fresh fruit. These are also a great source of nutrients as well!
In addition to staying hydrated, a proper diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help clients stay healthy and better able to ward off the flu. Vitamin C and other antioxidants can be especially beneficial. These can be found in many different foods, including leafy greens and several different types of fruit. Blueberries and raspberries, for example, are excellent sources of both. Of course, getting quality sleep, avoiding overexertion, and resting when tired will also help you clients stay protected against the flu.
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