2017 flu season alert for caregivers!

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A friendly reminder for caregivers: get your flu shot if you haven't already and check your supplies of Tylenol, face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer, herbal teas, broth pouches and rehydration packets, etc. as this winter's flu is a doozy. Last Wednesday I was perfectly fine until I found myself throwing up like there was no tomorrow. I assumed various Christmas indulgences had been far worse than I had realized and rallied for a couple of hours doing housework until a crushing fatigue suddenly hit, then fever, then fever and chills and dizziness. The next few hours were horrid. Unfortunately, my sibling that I share 24/7 care of my paralyzed father with had already left for a planned overnight away and had limited cellphone coverage while at a holiday party. Until she returned late that night (as soon as she heard my message), it was all I could do to get through the most basic care tasks. I found myself sitting down on the floor to rest a few times while helping my dad eat dinner, brush his teeth, getting him into his Hoyer sling to transfer him from his wheelchair to bed, etc. I'm so glad I at least had face masks and plenty of gloves to try to shield him from my germs as best I could. My father thankfully didn't catch my illness. Flu shots can get a bad rap and mine didn't prevent my getting sick. The fatigue, headache and muscle aches were severe. However, my symptoms stopped pretty abruptly after a couple of days and I'm completely OK now. I am thankful that I got a flu shot, and that I have a fantastic sibling who took care of everything while I slept for a few days and watched HGTV on the couch (a treat!). I pray that all caregivers on this forum will avoid this nasty flu -- with special prayers, concern and admiration going out to you 24/7 caregivers who are caring for your loved ones alone. Be well!

10 Comments

Wonderful that your Dad didn't get sick and that you had your sibling to help! Flu is so awful. Glad you are better!
There's nothing quite so awful as caring for someone and having to don mask and gloves while you feel like death warmed over. I'm glad your sister could help!
This year's shots are only 10 percent effective. Wash wash wash. Flu is hitting hard here too.
I always get my flu shot, but, this year, I got hit with a terrible cold right after Christmas. OMG. It has been a bear and I'm still suffering with it. LOTS of people around here have had this thing, including my family members. It seems to gather strength and get worse by day 7. I don't think that many seniors or disabled people could survive it. The coughing is off the charts. My parents have still not recovered and both saw the doctor. 
What gets me is that I am so diligent with my handwashing. 
Last year my dad got pneumonia and I spent an entire day marinating in flu germs in the emergency room with him... I was so afraid I would get sick as I had my Dad in the hospital and my mom at home with bronchitis.. both with dementia.. and I was all alone.

Thankfully I only got a cold out of the situation. These are things I would recommend to avoid getting sick during flu season (even under the worst of circumstances)..

Keep hands washed
Drink plenty of water
Wash out nasal passages (I used a neti pot or a nose spray)
Make sure you are getting all vitamins - especially vitamin C and zinc. I like to drink lemon water.
Eat your veggies. (onions and garlic also help immunity)
Eliminate sugar as much as possible (sugar has a tendency to lower immunity)
Stay away from heavily populated areas (if you can..for me the emergency room was probably the worst place to hang out).. but I stay away from crowded shopping malls, movie theaters..etc during flu season.
Meditate/deep breath to lower stress. (stress lowers immunity)
Thanks for the well wishes!

Katiekay, I'm afraid I've been spending the holiday season basically doing the reverse of all the great things on your list (except hand washing). Especially sugar consumption.... Definitely time to regroup for 2018!
I do volunteer work Saturday mornings at a local hospital and the flu has hit the Wash DC area. Another lady and myself do the main information desk, but she is out-of-town this Sat due to her regular full-time job, and I don't feel like doing the desk alone.... not during flu season.

When the flu season hits, the hospital has a different set of visitor rules. Only 2 persons at a time to visit a patient, and no one under the age of 16 is allowed in the rooms. There are masks to wear if someone appears to have the sniffles or a cough. Well, some visitors feel these rules are for everyone else, not them. I just don't feel like battling people tomorrow on my own.... [sign]

Uniformed security fills in if no one is at the information desk. I doubt they get much talk-back from the visitors.
Glad thanks for that reassuring information. Does it apply to the enhanced shot they give to us "elderly"
Think I'll just hibernate and order all my groceries from Amazon.
I've only had flu once at about age 14 and i was off school for 2 weeks. Wearing a mask when in crowds is a good idea and frequent hand washing and use of handsanitizer when in public places. I have even used rubber gloves in public toilets.
veronica I don't know if the 10% applies to the elderly enhanced shot.
Mom was in the hospital last week with the flu and the ER and everywhere in between was covered with sick folk wearing masks - the evening news tonight reported a hospital in San Diego was using tents in the parking lot to handle the crowds

I've had the lingering cough since before Xmas and three of her caregivers have been hit hard this week

Both staff and nurses at her facility are sick and more residents are getting sick

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