Flu season doesn’t affect all of us equally. While the flu can be deadly for all ages, seniors are particularly vulnerable. Aging bodies are both more susceptible to the flu and more affected by it, in terms of the severity of symptoms and the timeline for recovery. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 70–90% of seasonal flu deaths occur in people 65 years or older.
Given the close quarters, the flu often spreads rapidly at many nursing homes, leaving an already vulnerable population at risk. As a nursing home lawyer Memphis TN has turned to, I know that assisted living facilities have a responsibility to protect their residents’ health and well-being. If a nursing home fails to take appropriate preventative measures, you could be eligible for compensation. Read on to learn about this important public health issue, and give us a call at (901) 327-2100 if a loved one became ill due to a facility’s negligence.
Why is the flu more likely to spread in nursing homes?
Research has found that aging leaves you more susceptible to the flu. As we get older, our immune systems have more difficulty recognizing new viral strains. On top of that, flu vaccines are not as effective among this demographic.
Once a nursing home resident gets the flu, it doesn’t take long for it to spread. The flu isn’t always immediately visible among older patients. They may have other medical conditions whose symptoms, such as shortness of breath, make it harder to spot the signs of flu.
The close quarters at nursing homes, where residents share common spaces and eat together, make these facilities a ripe breeding ground for the flu.
When you take into consideration the revolving door of visitors and staff, some of whom are likely carrying the flu with them, it’s no wonder the flu is such a problem at nursing homes.
Common Flu Complications
For the elderly, severe flu symptoms don’t always disappear after a few weeks. Complications can linger for a while.
- The flu can easily turn into pneumonia because it limits your airflow, leading to build-up of bacteria and an infection in the lungs.
- The flu can lead to ear and sinus infections.
- In weakening the body, the flu can make it difficult to fight symptoms of asthma, diabetes, or other conditions.
These complications are often how the flu becomes deadly for the elderly.
Nursing homes have a responsibility to protect residents from the flu.
There are guidelines in place to help prevent outbreaks of the flu at nursing homes, including isolating residents with flu-like symptoms, restricting visitors, and modifying work schedules. Staff and visitors should all take precautions to reduce their risk of infection, including the use of proper hygiene.
If appropriate steps aren’t taken, the consequences for your loved one can be deadly. Know someone who was harmed by a flu outbreak at a nursing home? You could be entitled to compensation. Give us a call at (901) 327-2100, and we’ll help you navigate your options.