The Benefits of Home Healthcare During Flu SeasonCarla Gianzon
It’s that time of year again where the days get shorter, mornings get colder, and everyone appears to have some kind of illness. Similar to last year, though, we no longer have just the common cold and flu to worry about, there is also COVID-19, which is still a prominent part of our society and a continued burden on our health.
The influenza virus, or “flu” as it’s more commonly called, is something that everyone is familiar with. However, its constant prevalence each year, beginning around October and continuing until May, does not make it any less dangerous. The CDC estimates that an average of 36,000 people die from the flu each year, although, during the flu’s worst season in 2017-2018, the number of flu-related deaths was almost double that. This does not even take into consideration the number of people who contract the flu and have lasting side effects.
Symptoms of the Flu
It is important to keep symptoms of the flu in mind as we enter flu season. These symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Muscle or body aches
How does the Flu spread?
Like the coronavirus, the flu is spread through tiny droplets expelled from the mouth or nose when coughing or sneezing. The flu can also survive on surfaces for a brief amount of time. This is why actions such as covering the mouth and nose and hand washing are crucial for reducing your risk of contracting the flu.
Healthy habits for Flu season
Many actions can be taken to promote a smooth and illness-free “flu season”. Some of these habits include:
- Avoiding close contact
As expected, one way that illness can spread is through close contact. This is why it is not only important to avoid close contact to protect ourselves, but we should also avoid it to protect others when we are sick.
- Covering your mouth and nose
When coughing or sneezing, germs can leave our mouths/noses through small particles. When others come into contact with those particles, illnesses are spread. To discourage this, be sure to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and encourage those around you to do the same.
- Cleaning your hands
Bacteria and viruses can remain on the hands when touching surfaces, so it is important to wash your hands regularly to remove any germs that may be lingering.
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth
Many people unconsciously touch their eyes, nose, or mouth throughout the day, but it is especially important to avoid this habit during flu season. Touching the eyes, nose, or mouth provides a way for the virus to enter our bodies, and once it is inside, it can quickly begin replicating and infecting us.
- Practicing other good health habits
In addition to the above habits that help prevent the spread of the flu, it is also important to partake in healthy habits that build up the immune system. This can include regular exercise and eating a diet full of fruits and vegetables.
What is Home Healthcare?
Home healthcare is a service agency that provides skilled services and care for the rehabilitation and treatment of home-bound patients. This allows patients to enjoy long-term recovery in the comfort of their own homes.
Home healthcare can include a variety of services including skilled nursing, physical and occupational therapy, social work, and home health aides.
Home Healthcare during Flu season
Home healthcare can be especially beneficial during the flu season. During a time when it is best to reduce unnecessary contact and remain home as much as possible, home healthcare accomplishes this all while ensuring that the patient is well-cared for and recovering as expected. In fact, home healthcare can help you to abide by many of the healthy habits listed above.
It is important to remain vigilant during this season because those with co-existing conditions such as diabetes, heart failure, or cancer are at a high risk of having complications from the flu. For these individuals, the benefits provided by home healthcare are even more important.
The benefits of Home Healthcare during Flu season
One of the biggest benefits of home healthcare is that the patient has little exposure to outside contagions. All their care occurs in their home, so they do not have to worry about exposing themselves to germs for appointments that are easily adapted for the home.
Home health aides can also help to keep the surfaces of their patient’s residences sanitized. Since the flu can reside on surfaces for a brief amount of time, it is important to ensure that all surfaces, especially highly touched ones, are frequently cleaned.
For those who like to receive their flu shot every year to strengthen their immune system, home health aides can help to schedule that appointment and ensure that their patient receives their shot. In some cases, a nurse may even be able to administer the shot themselves in the comfort of the patient’s home.
A healthy diet is an essential aspect of maintaining a healthy immune system. The body’s immune system relies on certain vitamins and minerals which fruits and vegetables supply. Home health aides, in coordination with nurses and MD, can help make sure that their patients eat a balanced diet that will help put their bodies in the best position to fight illness.
Finally, home health aides or nurses can help their patients identify if they have symptoms of the flu or COVID-19, and if these symptoms are present, they can help transport the individual to the doctor or hospital if necessary. Before getting to that stage, though, they can help to manage some of the uncomfortable symptoms, such as a cough or sinus congestion.
Just because we are about to enter flu season does not mean that we have to endure it. There are many actions that we can take to limit the spread of the flu and give our bodies the best possible chance of fighting any infection, and home healthcare can help home-bound patients accomplish this.
Home healthcare helps limit unnecessary exposure, and home health care interdisciplinary team can help to sanitize high-touch surfaces, schedule a flu shot, prepare vitamin-rich meals, and identify and monitor flu symptoms.
Home healthcare is a valuable service during the flu season, and at K&N Rehab Inc., we are ready to help you or your loved one manage a healthy flu season, all while ensuring exceptional care.