On average, around 3,500 people in the U.S. die from the flu each year. Due to the weakened immune systems of most nursing home residents, extra safety measures are taken for their protection during the flu season.
Although many people who suffer from the flu recover after about two weeks, it's what happens after the flu for nursing home residents that can be more dangerous than the flu itself. Pneumonia, sepsis, and heart attacks generally affect the elderly after the flu, especially if they already have underlying medical conditions, such as heart diseases or lung disease.
To prevent the spread of disease, the CDC advises for nursing home employees and residents to:
- Receive the flu vaccine
- Cover your mouth when you cough
- Listen to Infection Control Precautions
- Minimize Exposure to the Flu
- Practice Proper Hygiene
- Provide facemasks to residents with upper respiratory infections
There are several other safety measures advised by the CDC. If you plan to visit a loved one in the nursing home during flu season make sure to wash your hands before and after entering the nursing facility. Make sure you have your flu vaccine, and do not go if you feel sick 24-hours prior to your visit.