Flu season often starts picking up in October and hits the high points by February. The flu may not seem like a big deal, but it can be dangerous for older adults with chronic health conditions. What are the best ways to help your dad prepare for the flu season?
Make Sure He’s Had His Flu Shot
The annual flu shot is one of the most important steps in flu prevention. It’s a combination of flu strains that are predicted to be prevalent that year. It’s often inactive strains, so it won’t give your dad the flu, but it does help his dad develop the necessary antibodies.
It takes a couple of weeks for the antibodies to build. Once your dad has had the shot, he still is at risk. He needs to avoid people who are coughing or appear to be sick. Also, it’s important to remember that the flu may have different strains, so the shot isn’t 100% effective.
Keep Distance in Stores and Public Areas
When he’s in stores and other public areas, he needs to stay away from others. A mask helps keep germs from reaching his nasal passage. Staying at least six feet from others also helps.
He should carry hand sanitizer and use it when he cannot wash his hands in a sink. When he washes his hands, he needs to lather for 20 seconds before rinsing. Air drying is best, but a new paper towel is the second best.
Stock Up on Soups and Broths
If your dad does get the flu or a cold, having soups and broth on hand for quick meals is important. Canned soups will do, but homemade is better. When you roast a turkey or chicken for a holiday meal, save the carcass and simmer it for several hours with some onion, dill, carrots, and celery.
Strain the liquid using cheesecloth or a fine-mesh strainer. Discard the bones and vegetables. Cool the liquid and transfer to freezer bags. Freeze the broth until it’s needed.
Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruit
Help boost the immune system by eating fruit that is high in vitamin C and other antioxidants. One way to do this is by making your dad a morning smoothie from frozen berries, naturally sweetened juice and frozen pineapple chunks.
What do you do if you have the symptoms of the flu but provide your dad’s care? Don’t risk it. Call a home care agency and arrange respite care services. Have a caregiver help him with meals, transportation, housekeeping, laundry, and companionship.
While he has the help he needs, you can focus on staying home and getting over the flu. Call a home care agency to learn more.