On January 9th, 2018, 3 flu-related fatalities were reported in Tarrant County. All 3 deaths involved senior citizens ages 55 and up, but there has been news of a widespread flu outbreak in Fort Worth, which could affect everyone from aging adults to small children. However, because senior adults make up at least 10% of the population of Fort Worth, this incident begs the question: How can aging adults protect themselves from getting the flu?
Medical Conditions that Make Seniors More Susceptible to the Flu
In the recent cases of flu-related death reported by Tarrant County Public Health, the affected seniors all had other existing health problems. There is not enough information to know what those problems were or determine whether or not those conditions played a primary or secondary role in their death, but certain serious medical conditions can make you more susceptible to getting the flu, such as:
- Autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and celiac disease
- Type 1 diabetes
- Diseases of the kidney or liver
- Leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood or lymph cancers
- Depression and anxiety
- Heart disease
Regardless of your age, getting the flu often results in a period of immobility, which contributes to its destructive potential for older adults. For seniors, becoming immobile or bed-ridden can create additional health problems like pneumonia, reduced oxidative capacity, and reduced muscle mass and strength, even if you are only sedentary for a few days. Taking active steps to protect yourself from contracting a virus can protect your quality of life and your current level health, as well as help you enjoy the decades to come.
What Fort Worth Seniors Can Do to Combat the Flu Virus
In order to keep the flu from knocking you off your feet this season, here are a few preventative measures you can take:
- Get your annual flu shot. It is generally recommended that you receive your shot before flu season starts in December. However, even if you’re late to the party this flu season, your risk of getting the flu is still reduced if you get your vaccine. (Medicare patients should also be aware that Medicare will pay for your flu shot.)
- Avoid highly or densely populated areas, if possible. It may be best to steer clear of movie theatres, public restrooms, crowded waiting areas, and the like, whenever possible.
- Wash your hands more frequently than normal. If you can’t avoid touching things in shared or public spaces, the best way to prevent the spread of illness is by washing and sanitizing your hands as often as possible. Also avoid touching your face without washing your hands first, because viruses often enter the body through the eyes and mouth.
Make an Appointment with an Experienced Forth Worth Doctor Today
Whether you are worried about catching the flu, fearful that you may already have the flu, or are concerned about another aspect of your health as a senior adult, Primary Care Associates of Texas is here to serve you. Our experienced Forth Worth doctors are board-certified, fully qualified, and prepared to address your specific health needs.
Schedule your appointment with us by emailing us or calling us at today.