Seniors and the Stomach Flu

Importance of Senior Healthcare in Regards to the Stomach Flu

The stomach flu is typically not a cause of concern for the American population. It is a common illness and generally does not require treatment. However, many people do not realize that the flu is a great cause of concern for the elderly.

Seniors and the Stomach Flu

Unfortunately, aging cause the immune system to suppress and, therefore, the body is no longer able to efficiently fight sickness. Seniors are also more prone to complications from the illness. Therefore there are greater risks and dangers. Seniors and senior caregivers need to be very familiar with senior health and know what to watch for when it comes to the flu.

How to Avoid

Stomach flu spreads easily by coming into contact with someone who has the virus, or by touching a surface that has been contaminated. The most obvious way to avoid contracting the stomach flu is to avoid those who are already sick. However, the virus is often being spread by those who have not yet begun symptoms and do not realize they are spreading it. Similarly, the virus can be spread by those who are starting to feel better but are still contagious. There is no vaccination or antibiotic available; therefore, avoiding sickness is the best way to stay healthy. Remaining completely germ-free is an impossible task but here are some helpful tips:

  1. Practice frequent hand washing and hand sanitization. Hand sanitizers with a minimum of 62% ethanol can also be acceptable.
  2. Avoid large crowds and gatherings. The more people present, the more likely unfavorable germs are also present.
  3. Use bleach-based household cleaners to clean surfaces as often as possible.
  4. Eat a healthy diet and take vitamins to boost the immune system. Plenty of sleep can also help boost the immune system.

What to Watch For

Seniors will need to watch for signs and symptoms of the stomach flu. The most common ones include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever

The symptoms range from mild to severe and often arrive with a sudden onset. Not all symptoms will always be present.

What to Do

Seniors will typically remain ill for 2-3 days after symptoms begin. The best thing to do is get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids. One of the greatest dangers to seniors is dehydration. If dehydration is suspected it should be treated with drinking plenty of liquids. Water, juice, and sports drink are all considered good options to increase electrolytes and re-hydrate the body.

If symptoms still persist after three days, it is time to contact a health care provider.