Welcome Wisdom

Tips for the Changing Seasons: Time to get the Flu Shot and make Emergency Plans

by Ginger McMurchie, Elder Care Management Owner & Care Manager

Flu Shots: 
With the seasons changing it is time or past time to get your flu shot. The Center for Disease Control advises that all healthy adults and children between the ages of 6 months and 8 years old have their flu shots before the end of October. So if you have not gotten yours yet and are reading this newsletter- time to talk to your doctor about getting one.
Why do we vaccinate? The philosophy is based on “building herd immunity”.  Not that we like to think of ourselves as members of a herd, but the primary goal is to prevent a large-scale epidemic. This reduces the risk of infection for newborns, the elderly and those who have health issues that prevent them from getting the vaccine.
Flu symptoms begin to appear in October and peak from December through February. Recently we have seen flu outbreaks linger through March into April and even May. Scientists are busy throughout the year identifying viruses that are likely to be most prevalent during any flu season and must narrow the vaccination down to the three or four that are most likely to appear. Vaccines are made by private manufacturers and production will yield between 160 to 169 million doses. The vaccine itself will live in our systems for 6 months to one year. Vaccines are made up of inactivated virus that builds your body’s immunity. You may get an immune response from the vaccine but cannot get the flu itself.
Does getting the shot mean we won’t get the flu? No, but what it could mean is that our symptoms are reduced and for those who are seriously ill, it may eliminate a trip to the emergency room or a stay in the intensive care unit. For those who live in congregate settings like assisted living or skilled nursing, having the general population vaccinated will hopefully reduce the severity of outbreaks. Care Managers are keenly aware that our clients who live in assisted or skilled settings are vulnerable and therefore adopt the mantra of good hygiene by diligent washing of our hands, wearing face masks, or postponing visits if necessary.
Emergency Plans:
For those of us in California, October and November bring us the blessing of cooler mornings and the curse of dry air and high winds. We have addressed emergency plans in past issues of our newsletter but would like to remind our readers of a few helpful tips:
*Be prepared for an evacuation. Have a go-bag ready with medications, valuable documents, food supplies, and water. Don’t forget to prepare the same for your pet.
*If you have not done so already, sign up for alerts from your local utility company. Think about whether a backup generator would be helpful and purchase one long before it is needed.
*Have a plan to notify loved ones of your well being. Consider a solar charger for your phone and think about a means of communication should cellular service be difficult.In closing, we would like to express our thanks. Thank you to all who have supported your loved ones. Thank you to those who serve the elderly and frail. Thank you to all of you who are on the front lines enhancing and enriching the lives of others. We are truly grateful to all of you who have supported Elder Care Management’s vision of advocating for those in need.