Each year occurrences of flu affect much of the country, and care homes are often one of the most common areas for an outbreak to happen. The warm, centrally-heated and sometimes confined nature of the care home environment can be a perfect way for an infectious and common virus such as flu to take hold and spread. This wintery nuisance can have more severe consequences for older people who are often more susceptible to the spread of an infection.
In a care home, residents and staff share the same space, environmental conditions and utilities, meaning that they could also be sharing the microorganisms that result in infection outbreaks. Older people are usually physically weaker making them more sensitive to the infections born by viruses and microbes. Their potentially vulnerable physical condition might also mean that they suffer more from diseases and are sick for longer.
In order to prevent and detect flu infections, it is of utmost importance for care home personnel to be appropriately qualified in cleaning and maintenance, and keep a care residence as sterile as possible, especially during the winter months, and using the correct antibacterial equipment. Care home management should also have a contingency plan in place, in order to reduce the amount of people infected in case a flu infection does strike.
Even though flu outbreaks are almost impossible to prevent, we hope that some of these best flu prevention tips will give you some valuable insight.
Since flu is considered to be one of the common kind of virus outbreaks, there are many medical treatment options available to prevent and remedy the symptoms:
- Getting vaccinated against flu
This is one of the most common and useful approaches of flu prevention as the vaccines are full of vital elements that help to reduce the possibility of flu infection. However, they are not always 100% effective since there are several types and levels of flu viruses, but ensuring residents have been vaccinated can go a long way in prevention - you could even have a flu jab party to encourage everyone to get involved!
- Antiviral medicine
Another medical treatment option against flu is antiviral prescription drugs, such as inhaled powders, liquid, capsules and pills that fight flu viruses.
Despite the fact that there are a lot of medical remedies, they are not always helpful to successfully prevent flu. It’s highly recommended to follow good hygiene habits such as:
- Avoid close contact
If a person is infected with flu, you should avoid close contact such as hugging or holding their hand, and if hold contact is needed to guide or move them from area to area, ensure you wash your hands before helping someone else. Make sure that they don’t share cups or eating implements, and if you provide finger-food for any parties, ensure a member of staff plates up for that resident or that you provide serving utensils to avoid contamination.
- Keep everything clean
It is important to wash your hands regularly, wear clean clothes and clean the surfaces of items such as lockers, mobile phones and other things you are likely to touch daily. To support your cleaning regime it’s vital that you have the best janitorial products for these daily jobs.
Practice healthy activities
Get active! Do some group activities to keep people moving in the winter months, such as dancing, stretching, seated games such as boules or ball throwing, or take a small walk or spend time outside on bright sunny days. Residents will benefit from fresh air and the vitamin D generated by exposure to daylight to help to ward off infections. Staying active is very helpful in improving physical health and strengthening the immune system to help keep everyone fighting fit.
We hope you find the tips above useful for preventing and minimising flu outbreaks. By working together as a care home team you can help to ensure excellent levels of health and cleaning procedures and awareness. You can help to ensure that care home residents and staff get through the flu season, happy and healthy.
If you have any other questions, please do give us a call on 01234 324 530 or fill out our contact form for a fast reply from one of our team.