There have been many myths pertaining to Alzheimers and the flu shot; fortunately, the flu shot has no effect on your risk for developing the chronic disease.
However, it is true that Alzheimers and dementia patients are at an increased risk for suffering fatalities as a result from contracting the flu. Here’s what you should know about the risks associated with the flu and Alzheimers.
Risk factors associated with the flu
It is fairly common knowledge that sicknesses, illnesses, and other health issues tend to hit the elderly community with more force than ailments seen in younger people. This is primarily because of the weakened immune systems associated with aging, chronic conditions, and neurological issues. It’s estimated that over five million people are living with Alzheimers in the United States.
In fact, it’s estimated that people suffering from a chronic neurological condition, such as Alzheimers, are around 40 times more likely to die because of the flu than people who do not have a chronic health condition. This is, in part, because your loved one may fail to take proper medications or maintain a healthy lifestyle as a result of their mental illness. Others simply cannot handle the severity of the illness in their weakened state. The flu is a notoriously dangerous health concern that spreads quickly and requires intensive care.
Unfortunately, it’s estimated that among those suffering from the chronic health effects of dementia and Alzheimers, less than half received a flu vaccination in 2017.
How to prevent the flu in your loved ones
The best thing you can do for your loved one is taking them to get a flu shot at a medical facility near you. This vaccine will work to limit the effects of the flu should your loved one contract it, or prevent them from catching the illness altogether.
This is particularly important should your loved one live in a memory care facility or other assisted living home for dementia treatment. Though the assisted living community will offer specialized care and maintain a clean facility, living in close proximity to other people demand that preventative measures are taken.
On top of that, your loved one must regularly wash their hands and sanitize their living space. If they are unable to maintain their home, talk to their specialized caregiver about flu prevention options.
For more information on protecting your loved one with Alzheimers, contact the memory care facility of Heritage Hills of Oceanside.