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What Serving Seniors is Doing About the Flu Outbreak in San Diego

The 2017-2018 flu season is being described as the deadliest flu season on record in San Diego, with more than 10,300 cases and 91 deaths reported so far. And it’s not just elderly people dying from flu-related complications, like pneumonia: in California, 27 people younger than the age of 65 have died this year, compared to 4 last year.

With the number of flu-related deaths having doubled (from 45 to 91) in one week, County officials recommend that everyone get a flu shot. Officials report that 70% of flu-related deaths in San Diego were people who had not been vaccinated. The vaccine is 40% effective and more than 600,000 have been administered across the county this season.

The Flu and Seniors

It’s important that seniors protect themselves and not underestimate the seriousness of the flu, as it’s especially contagious and can be life-threatening, especially for older adults, people with chronic medical conditions and people with compromised immune systems.

According to the CDC, “people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu compared to young, healthy adults because human immune defenses become weaker with age.” Flu shots are covered by Medicare.

Early detection is important for seniors, who are encouraged to seek medical treatment at the first sign of symptoms. If caught early, the flu can be treated with a prescription of antiviral medication, which helps shorten the duration and lessen the symptoms of the illness.

How Serving Seniors is Combating the Flu

  • Our nurse case management team has developed a pamphlet to educate clients and staff about the flu and how to prevent it, including effective hand washing.
  • Infection control and communicative disease training has been provided for staff.
  • We have a nurse case manager available onsite at our Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center Monday – Saturday, with walk-in hours and appointment availability.
  • Serving Seniors has partnered with SHARP HealthCare to provide flu education and vaccinations in our facilities.
  • Staff with flu symptoms are encouraged to stay or return home to prevent spreading illness.

Flu Symptoms Include:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Body aches
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue/confusion
  • Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea
  • People may be infected with the flu and have respiratory symptoms without a fever

How to Protect Yourself and Others from the Flu

  • Get the flu vaccine. Find out where
  • Wash your hands thoroughly and often
  • Use hand sanitizers
  • Stay away from sick people
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Regularly clean commonly touched surfaces with antibacterial solutions
  • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others, especially older adults, young children, people with chronic medical conditions and people with compromised immune systems
  • If you start to get flu-like symptoms, seek medical attention immediately