“Flu activity in Massachusetts has spiked yet again, reaching the second-highest level the state has seen in at least the past decade.” The Boston Globe reported on February 8th.
Your first thought reading this may be “well I got the flu shot so I am fine” … wrong. The vaccine was reported by TIME Magazine to only have 17 percent effectiveness against the viral strain this flu season, meaning we need to remain cautious while we wait out the rest of this flu season.
Every year I remind visitors about coming into Copley if they are having any flu-like symptoms. Once illnesses like the flu or Norovirus are introduced to an environment such as Copley, they can infect almost everyone in record time. It is very serious when an elderly person contracts one of these viruses. As we age, our immune systems become weaker, making us more prone to these illnesses. Please, if you have symptoms we ask until your symptoms have subsided not to visit our facility. It is critical for our infection control protocols to mitigate the spread of these illnesses to our residents.
Here are some ways you can be mindful during flu season:
- Even it is not 100% effective, getting your flu shot in early fall can still protect you against multiple strands of the virus.
- Avoid close contact with others.
- Keep your hands away from your face. ANY surface could be infected.
- Clean communal surfaces and items DAILY and wash your hands after touching any. I.e. light switches, doorknobs, telephones, keyboards, etc…
- Wear surgical gloves and a mask while caring for someone who is ill and AVOID direct contact.
And for those who have been hit already, here are a few ways you can lessen the pain of your symptoms while you wait it out via WebMD:
- Fluids, fluids, fluids. Water, tea, juice, sports drinks, and broth are all effective in keeping your respiratory system hydrated.
- Ibuprofen can save the day when it comes to those dreaded body aches.
- Calm that cough with over the counter cough meds.
- Breathe in steam. Fill your bathroom sink with hot water and a few drops of peppermint essential oils. This opens your airways up, easing congestion and making it easier to breathe!
Stay healthy this winter and remember to visit when you’re feeling better!