Essential Steps for Preventing the Flu
Cold and flu season is upon us, and seniors are especially susceptible to infections. Home Care Assistance – Toronto/York Region, the Greater Toronto Area’s leading provider of in-home care for seniors, urges clients to get their flu shots this winter, if they haven’t already.
An outbreak of H1N1 flu in Alberta has claimed the lives of 10 people between the ages of 18 and 64, as well as left 300 people hospitalized, with 40 of them in intensive care. H1N1 has also been tied to two deaths in the Toronto area, the most recent being a 75-year-old-man.
During cold and flu season, Home Care Assistance – Toronto/York Region’s workers take extra care with our clients, since they are so vulnerable to the flu. We always recommend that they receive flu shots as soon as they become available, and we have a number of resources available, such as clinics and drugs stores in your area, that offer them.
Our home care workers are also educated in the prevention of the flu, and we update regularly to match its changing strains. There are also steps that clients and caregivers can take to prevent an outbreak of the flu.
- Watch for Symptoms: If you, your loved one, or your client displays any symptoms, including fever, sore throat, cough, congestion, chills, headaches, body aches, and fatigue, visit a doctor immediately. Antiviral drugs are most effective when prescribed within 48 hours of symptoms first appearing.
- Quarantine Yourself: If you are sick, try to avoid any social situations until you are well. The flu is highly contagious and you don’t want to infect friends or family members. If you are a caregiver and your client is sick, be sure to take the proper precautions, such as wearing a mask and gloves.
- Wash Your Hands Often: When it comes to preventing the flu, the importance of washing your hands cannot be emphasized enough. Use an antibacterial soap and wash with warm water for at least 20 seconds. If there’s no soap or water available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Cover Your Mouth When Sneezing or Coughing: Use a tissue, or your hand or sleeve if necessary. Wash your hands and discard the tissue or clean your sleeve immediately afterwards.
- Avoid Sick People: If you know of anyone who is infected with the flu, you should stay away from them until after the infection has run its course. If possible, you should also avoid situations that will put you in touch with sick people.
Taking these precautions will minimize the chances of you, your clients, or your loved ones catching the flu this year. For more information, visit our web site or speak to your home care worker today!
Jeffords, S., “H1N1 blamed for two deaths in Toronto,” Toronto Sun web site, January 4, 2014; http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/04/h1n1-blamed-for-two-flu-deaths-in-toronto.
“H1N1 Flu in Alberta causes 10 deaths,” CBC web site, January 6, 2014, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/h1n1-flu-in-alberta-causes-10-deaths-1.2486357.
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