Helping Protect Your Elderly Parent's Health in Fall and Winter

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When you have an elderly parent that begins to require your help and assistance on a regular basis, your biggest concern often becomes their safety and health. And as fall and winter arrive, you know that your elderly parent may be exposed to extreme temperatures, dangerous weather conditions, and of course, a plethora of viruses and other illnesses. Because age make people are more susceptible to health complications related to these seasonal health factors, you may wonder what you can do to help protect your elderly parent's health this fall and winter. Get to know some of the steps you can take so that your elderly parent remains healthy this year.

Take Them to Get a Flu Shot

When it comes to common fall and winter health ailments, the flu is one of the most prevalent. And for adults who are elderly, the flu can also be one of the most dangerous and even deadly of these seasonal ailments.

Luckily, there are ways to help reduce this risk for your elderly parent, the most effective being a flu vaccine. As soon as you can in the fall or early winter, schedule an appointment with a local physician, such as Rocky Mountain Family Physicians, to get the flu vaccine in the office.

You may worry about a flu vaccine shortage, which sometimes occurs across the nation when demand exceeds supply. However, the elderly are considered to be priority patients because they are at high risk of contracting the flu and of having related complications. So, be sure to take your elderly parent to get their flu vaccine.

Find Out If Your Parent Has Had the Pneumonia Immunization

Pneumonia is another serious health ailment that is more prevalent in winter and far more dangerous to elderly adults. Luckily, there are actually two different pneumonia vaccines that can keep your elderly parent from suffering from pneumonia, each protecting patients from different strains of pneumoccocal disease.

Pneumonia, unlike the flu, is a bacterial infection that can develop from other infections and illnesses such as sinus infections, strep throat, bronchitis, or other ailments that commonly cause adults problems in the fall and winter months. The two pneumonia vaccines are known as PPSV23 and PCV13.

If your parent has not had any pneumonia vaccines before, you will want to schedule them an appointment with their doctor to get the PCV13 vaccine as soon as possible. Then, in anywhere from 6 months to a year, you can bring your parent back to have the PPSV23 vaccine. If your parent has had one of the pneumonia vaccines previously but not the other, you can take them in to get their second vaccine.

Now that you know a few of the ways to help protect your elderly parent's health in the fall and winter, you can get started as soon as possible. The earlier you get the process started, the healthier they are likely to remain this winter.

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11 November 2015

Working With My Doctor

Sometimes when you get sick, it can be tempting to self-diagnose and self-medicate. Unfortunately, if you guess wrong, you might end up even sicker, or worse. I learned this lesson the hard way a few years back when I tried to overcome a bad cold. I assumed I had a simple cold, so I focused on resting and drinking fluids--instead of meeting with my doctor. Unfortunately, after a month, I still wasn't better. When I finally went to my doctor, I discovered that I had full-blown pneumonia, and I had to be hospitalized. This blog is all about the importance of working with your doctor, so that you can stay healthy.