You have all undoubtedly heard all the recent news about swine
flu-but have you thought about what it means for the seniors in your
life, your aging parents or you as a caregiver? To date, almost all
cases in the North America have been mild and the chances of
contracting swine flu are still remote. Just yesterday, President Obama released this official statement: "We are closely monitoring
the emerging cases of swine flu in the United States. This is
obviously the cause for concern and requires a heightened state of
alert, but it's not a cause for alarm."
However, according to the
World Health Organization, the number of confirmed cases of swine
flu worldwide increased to 236 on Thursday (2008); this is a substantial
increase from the previous day's total of 147. Anyone with an aging
parent or a senior in their life, including all certified care
managers, should be concerned about the recent swine flu pandemic
and the potential risks for seniors.
This group is at particular risk due to difficulties recovering
if exposed. It is very important to ensure that all home health
aides are educated about swine flu Prevention Guidelines as
prescribed by the CDC Center for Disease Control (CDC). Obtaining
relevant information from all active caregivers, including recent
travels and experienced flu symptoms, is a key component of
There are steps that professional and family caregivers as well
as the community at large can take to decrease exposure and combat
symptoms of swine flue. The Center for Disease Control is constantly
updating their site, but the current guidelines and information
about swine flu for caregivers is as follows:
Swine flu's symptoms resemble those of seasonal flu-fever, sore
throat, cough, congestion, chills, headache, body aches and fatigue.
Some patients also report diarrhea and vomiting.
If you have symptoms, see your doctor or visit a community
clinic. A medical provider's diagnosis is important and prescription
antiviral drugs are most effective when taken within 48 hours of the
appearance of symptoms.
If you are ill, avoid travel and do not go to work or school.
Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20
seconds or use alcohol-based cleaners and hand sanitizers.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze,
and then discard the tissue. Or if necessary, use your upper
sleeve-not your hands.
If you're healthy, wash your hands often and avoid ill people.
The flu's incubation period is 24 to 48 hours.
Make certain to follow any new developments regarding public
health advice, such as avoiding crowds.
Develop an emergency plan. Your plan should include maintaining a
supply of food, medicines, facemasks, alcohol-based hand rubs and
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