The 2019/2020 Flu season is lining up to be one of the worst yet. Influenza is notorious for being difficult to predict from one year to the next, so there’s no telling yet how this season will compare to previous years’ flu seasons. One big predictor for the United States flu season is the Southern Hemisphere — specifically, what strains are circulating in Australia and New Zealand and how many deaths and cases of severe illness are reported there in the previous season. Australia just wrapped up its largest flu season on record, in terms of the number of influenza cases reported. Thankfully, it wasn’t an especially severe season in terms of deaths or serious illness. 

We’ve seen the bright warning signs posted on Adult Care Home front doors and in all types of retirement communities. Shutting down the spread of the virus is the sole purpose of maintaining the health of the residents and all who visit. While there are always health issues we watch for as we age, the flue and pneumonia combine to rank seventh on the list of leading causes of death amount our elderly (according to the Center for Disease Control).  

Did you know there are two types of flu shots available to people ages 65 and older? These FDA-approved vaccines are designed to offer extra protection beyond what a standard flu shot provides, which is important for older adults who have weaker immune defenses and have a great risk of developing dangerous flu complications.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that during the 2018-2019 flu season, up to 647,000 people were hospitalized and 61,200 died because of the flu-most of whom were seniors.  

Two important vaccination the CDC recommend to seniors, especially this time of year, are the pneumococcal vaccines for pneumonia. Around 1 million Americans are hospitalized with pneumonia each year, and about 50,000 people die from it. Medicare Part B covers both shots, if they are take at least one year apart. Here’s a link to find a vaccination site near you. vaccinefinder.org

Cherie Henry and Catherine Camp
Autumn of Life Senior Housing and Advisory Services