Can You Tell If It’s Flu or Something Else?

When your aging family member gets sick during flu season, you may automatically jump to the conclusion that they have the flu. However, there are illnesses that have symptoms in common with the flu. The doctor may diagnose the older adult with a “flu-like illness” instead. But, what’s the difference?


Senior Care Fairhope AL: Senior Flu Concerns

Senior Care Fairhope AL: Senior Flu Concerns


Flu or Flu-Like?

To determine if a senior has the flu, the doctor will perform a swab test, taking a swab of either the throat or the nose. There’s no test for a flu-like illness. Usually, the doctor will diagnose a flu-like illness by examining the patient. A flu-like illness diagnosis is often the result when the patient has a fever with a sore throat or a cough, but the doctor is not sure what virus is causing the illness.


When a person has a flu-like illness, the doctor may treat the symptoms, but there probably won’t be a treatment for the virus itself. They may suggest:

• Drinking lots of liquids.
• Rest and sleep.
• Over-the-counter medications for managing symptoms.
• Steam to help with congestion.


Flu Symptoms

When the flu starts, it might seem like your aging relative just has a cold. They might have a runny nose, sneeze, or have a sore throat. However, colds come on slowly while the flu usually happens very suddenly and is more severe. Symptoms of the flu include:

• Headache
• Fever over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit
• Chills
• Sweats
• Dry cough that is persistent
• Fatigue
• Weakness
• Stuffy nose
• Sore throat
• Muscle or joint aches
• Painful or tired eyes
• Watery, red eyes
• Flushed skin

Because seniors are one of the at-risk groups for the flu, it’s important to see the doctor if they exhibit any signs of the flu. In addition, seek medical attention if they experience any of the following:

• Difficulty breathing.
• Dizziness that comes on suddenly.
• Confusion.
• Pain in the chest or belly.
• Vomiting that is severe.

If your aging relative gets the flu or a flu-like illness, a senior care provider can help them while they recover. A senior care provider can offer liquids frequently, including hot tea or broth that might help soothe a sore throat. Senior care providers can also remind older adults to take medications recommended by the doctor. When a hot, steamy shower will help, a senior care provider can make sure the older adult gets safely to and from the bathroom, even assisting them to shower, if needed. Senior care providers can also drive the person to follow-up doctor appointments or go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine.

If you or someone you know needs Senior Care in Fairhope AL, please contact the friendly caregivers at  Hughes Home Care. We provide quality and affordable care for your elderly loved ones in our community. Call Us Today 251-517-9901.  Serving Mobile & Baldwin County.


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