When someone is being treated for cancer, they may be advised to avoid certain things that could make them ill or cause complications. Many people believe that getting a flu shot can cause you to get the flu, so they may believe that an older adult with cancer should avoid the vaccination. However, the notion that the flu shot can cause the flu is a myth. The flu shot is made using an inactive virus, so it is incapable of producing the flu. So, if you’re wondering if your elderly parent with cancer should get a flu shot, follow the advice of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). They say that every person who is over the age of 6 months should be vaccinated against the flu—including people with cancer.
Why the Flu Shot is Important for Cancer Patients.
Although there isn’t any scientific proof that people with cancer get the flu more easily than other people, the CDC says that getting the flu could make them more likely to suffer from complications. In fact, it may cause complications in people who had some kinds of cancer in the past, including lymphoma and leukemia. The CDC also recommends that individuals who care for people with cancer also get a flu shot.
It is especially important for cancer patients who are senior citizens to get a flu shot because they have two risk factors that make flu more dangerous, cancer and advanced age. Seniors can be more seriously affected by the flu than younger people because the immune system tends to get weaker with age.
What to Do if Flu Strikes.
Although the flu vaccination reduces the chances of getting the flu and can make cases of the flu less severe, it isn’t a guarantee that your parent will not get the flu. If they do, there are steps you can take at home to help them through the illness and prevent it from spreading to others, such as:
- Call the doctor to see if the senior should receive antiviral medications.
- Make sure your parent gets plenty of rest.
- Keep the senior away from other people to protect them from getting the flu, too.
- Offer plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration.
- Wash your hands frequently to keep flu germs from spreading to others.
Elder care can help your aging parent through a bout of the flu, too. Elder care providers can allow the senior to rest while they take care of things around the house, such as cooking and cleaning. Elder care providers can also check on the person frequently to make sure they are comfortable and bring them anything they need, such as a drink or food. Since flu may make your parent feel weak, they may need assistance getting out of bed to go to the bathroom or sit in a chair for a bit. An elder care provider can help them to get up and walk around without falling.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring professional elder care in Mountain Brook, AL, call and talk to the staff at Lipford Home Care (205) 623-5700.