BEACON EMR HIPAA Disclaimer Site Map Social Media
BayCare Health System
Community Benefit Financial Assistance Policy Quality Report Card Health Library News Doctor Connect Find Us
Services Hospitals Find A Doctor Classes & Events About Us Careers Contact Us Get E-Newsletter
HealthDay Articles & Information
 Back  Back


May We Help You?
 

Call 1-877-692-2922
Monday-Friday, 8am to 5pm

Persons with hearing and speech disabilities can reach the above number through TDD and other specialized equipment by calling the Florida Relay Service at 711.

Contact Us
Send 
e-mail
Search jobs


Decrease (-) Restore Default Increase (+) Font Size
Print    Email
Search Health Information   

Doctor Explains Why Flu a Greater Threat to Seniors

Weaker immune system, dehydration risks and less mobility all can make illness more dangerous

THURSDAY, Jan. 17 (HealthDay News) -- The nasty flu season in the United States this year poses a particular risk for people aged 65 and older, an expert warns.

People's immune systems weaken as they age, explained Dr. Andrew Duxbury, an associate professor in the gerontology, geriatrics and palliative care division at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine.

"When older people get the flu and get knocked down further, they are more likely to get other infections, such as pneumonia," Duxbury said in a university news release. "Just being knocked into bed for as little as three or four days can, in a very frail older person, make it so they lose the ability to walk and do for themselves. It can cause a spiral in disabilities and increase chances of falls and injuries."

Prevention is the best defense. Seniors and their caregivers should get a flu shot, wash hands regularly and avoid crowds, Duxbury recommended.

He also offered advice about what seniors should do if they get the flu.

"Pay more attention to things like staying hydrated," Duxbury said. "Appetite and thirst mechanisms are different for older people; they can tip over to dehydration in less than a day if they don't keep fluids up."

Seniors with the flu also need to get out of bed at least a little bit, he said.

"It's better for lungs and helps avoid pneumonia," Duxbury explained.

He said seniors or their caregivers should call a doctor if they have shortness of breath, a cough that produces mucus or a fever higher than 101 degrees.

More information

Flu.gov has more about seniors and the flu.


SOURCE: University of Alabama at Birmingham, news release, Jan. 11, 2013

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.


Serving The Tampa Bay Area © Copyright 2014 BayCare Health System