With the weather turning noticeably colder and more autumnal in recent weeks, Tonbridge-based home care provider Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells is urging older people in Kent to protect themselves and their families from the flu virus this winter.
Older people are more susceptible to the effects of flu, a highly infectious disease, which can increase the risk of developing more serious illnesses such as bronchitis and pneumonia, or can make existing conditions worse. In the worst cases, flu can result in a stay in hospital, or even death.
Flu is caused by various strains of influenza virus that infect the respiratory system. Antibiotics, which are only effective against bacteria, will not treat the flu virus. The best way to prevent it is to get an annual flu vaccine.
Claire Stanley, Care Manager at Bluebird Care Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, said: “Older adults and people with chronic diseases are more likely to have problems from the flu. It often leads to a hospital stay, and sometimes it can be fatal. With many grandparents providing care for their grandchildren, there is also an increased risk of infection being passed to family members.
“But this condition is easy to prevent, and the flu vaccine will help to keep older people healthy during flu season. Seasonal flu viruses change each year, so older adults need to get a new flu shot each autumn to protect themselves against any new strains.”
There are reports that this year could see more incidents of flu than ever before, particularly because the flu season in other countries like Australia has seen large numbers of cases, and experience shows a severe flu season in the UK tends to follow such trends.
Seasonal flu also causes major demands on health services every winter and NHS health chiefs are supporting calls for those who are eligible for the flu vaccine to get it now.
For more information about flu visit the NHS ‘Stay Well This Winter’ campaign.