October 7, 2022

The Kentridge Senior Living Encourages Influenza Vaccinations

Category: Health & Wellness

Author: Staci Hardin, Director of Wellness

Remember the flu? Considering that we’ve been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic since March 2020, it’s understandable if you’ve put influenza on your mental back burner.

The flu has not only been out of mind, but it’s also been largely out of sight. Between September 2020 and August 2021, there were a little over 2,000 cases of influenza in the US, according to the CDC. In a typical flu season, the US sees more than 200,000 cases in that same time frame. This decline was largely due to protective measures that were taken to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

While that’s positive news, last year’s hiatus from the flu has many experts concerned about what this year might bring. With protective measures being more relaxed and the lack of exposure to the flu during last season, we might be more susceptible to the virus when it returns. Older adults may be especially at risk.

At The Kentridge Senior Living, we all play a vital role in preventing the spread of influenza. The best way to protect yourself and prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated. While all age groups over six months remain priorities for vaccination, additional emphasis this flu season will be on adults at higher risk from COVID-19 complications. This includes adults with underlying illnesses and those considered to be immunocompromised.

The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself against what could be a severe illness. Many older people often have conditions, such as COPD, heart failure, or pulmonary fibrosis, to name a few, that become exacerbated by the flu virus and could become deadly. The flu shot changes every year because the strain of flu virus also changes. Therefore, the shot that you received last year is not effective on the current year’s most prevalent strain of the virus.

Residents and staff should be educated on the benefits of getting the flu shot. There is a common myth that one will get the flu by getting the shot. I have heard many times in my nursing career of people not wanting to get a vaccine because they did not want to get the flu. You may develop some side effects such as fatigue, nausea, or other mild symptoms, but this is just your body’s immune system responding to the immunization. Staff should also be encouraged to think outside the box. You yourself might not have an illness that would put you at risk developing life threatening symptoms, but the resident that you care for, serve dinner to, or even just sit and chat with could become very ill from a simple flu virus.

The number one way to prevent the spread of disease is to wash your hands with antibacterial soap. If soap and water is unavailable, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer can also be useful to kill germs. If you think that you have symptoms of the flu, it is best to stay home until you are feeling healthy.  

We plan on making our flu clinic an uplifting event. We will be having live music and refreshments to show our appreciation to all participants for keeping our community healthy. We will also have nurses available to talk about any concerns one may have.  

Every one of us plays a vital role in preventing the spread of influenza. To offer protection to our residents in the most convenient manner, communities have begun planning their Annual Flu Vaccine Clinics. We are encouraging all eligible individuals to receive this year’s preventive vaccination. If you are unsure if you should receive the vaccine, please consult with your physician or healthcare provider.

The KentRidge Senior Living in Kent, OH offers independent senior apartments, assisted living, and memory care with a variety of services and a range of floor plan options. Amenities include restaurant dining, 24-hour bistro, concierge service, housekeeping, events and entertainment, personal care, transportation services, and more. Centrally located near University Hospital Portage Medical Center with convenient access to major shopping centers and attractions, including Sunny Hill Golf & Recreation Inc, Stow-Kent Shopping Center, Kent State Univeristy Museum, The Portage Hike & Bike Trail, and Mad Cap Brewing Company.

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