Every year, physicians urge their patients to get a flu shot. Per the CDC, in 2016, only 67 percent of seniors actually had one. Only 45 percent of men and women between the ages of 50 and 64 were vaccinated against the flu.
While the flu vaccine is not fail-proof, it lowers your mom's chances of developing the flu. It also helps shorten the duration if she gets the flu anyway. There's good reason to make sure she is protected. There are three dangerous complications that can happen days or weeks after having the flu.
According to Dr. William Schaffner at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, the flu creates an inflammatory response within your body. Even after you've recovered from the flu, that inflammatory response is still present. Research finds that after having the flu your risk of having a heart attack increases by as much as five times.
You may wonder how an immune response can trigger a heart attack. Say your mom gets the flu. Her body launches an intensive immune response. This leads to inflammation. As inflammation increases, the plaque that's built up in blood vessels may shift and cause a blockage that triggers a heart attack.
The flu is a respiratory virus specifically targeting the upper part of your respiratory system. That's why one of the main symptoms of the flu is a persistent cough. If the flu virus gets into the lungs and causes an infection, you can end up with pneumonia.
When the elderly get pneumonia, a weaker immune system makes it harder to fight the infection. Many seniors end up in the hospital where constant medical supervision is given. It can take a person months before they're feeling back to normal.
Going back to that inflammatory response, it also can trigger a stroke. The stroke risk following the flu increases by as much as three times. This increased risk can last for a month. Once again, the inflammation's role involves plaque within blood vessels. In this case, the blockage forms in the brain and triggers a stroke.
Make sure your mom gets her flu shot. If she gets the flu before she has a chance to get the vaccine, make sure she has someone checking on her. A high fever and difficulty breathing are signs to get your mom to a doctor.
While she recovers from the flu, have a home care professional make sure she's drinking plenty of fluids and taking medications at the proper time. A caregiver can also make sure she doesn't overdo it and eats enough. You want your mom to stay nourished while she heals. Learn more about caregiver services by calling our agency today.
If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services in Arvada, CO, please contact the caring staff at SYNERGY HomeCare West Denver. Call today: (720) 263-6060.