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That Thousand-Yard Stare

Visiting Angels: Caregivers and Kits Fight the Flu

This winter's vicious flu epidemic threatens everyone, but especially seniors, and now their families are fighting back with “Fight the Flu" kits and caregivers to protect their elderly loved ones. Weaker immune systems make seniors more vulnerable to the flu and that’s why 90 percent of all flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 or older.

That’s why Visiting Angels, one of the nation’s largest in-home senior care companies, helps local families in two ways: assembling Visiting Angels "Fight the Flu" kits so seniors can protect themselves from the flu; offering in-home senior flu service, where caregivers sanitize seniors’ homes and run errands for them (e.g., drugstore, market) so they’re not exposed to the flu; taking seniors to get their flu shot; caring for seniors at home and taking them to the doctor if they have the flu.

Visiting Angels “Fight the Flu" kits include items available at most retail stores:

Paper towels: Use paper towels in the bathroom instead of hand towels, which can harbor germs.
Medisim TempleTouch™ thermometer: Fever higher than 102 degrees could indicate flu.
Pocket-size hand sanitizer, with aloe: Helps keep skin germ-free and moisturized.
Pens: Carry your own pen – pens shared in public areas carry a ton of germs.
Disinfectant: Spray doorknobs, handles, and light switches, etc. every few days – viruses can live up to 48 hours on plastic and stainless-steel surfaces.
Hand soap: Recent studies show plain soap and water work just as well as, if not better than, antibacterial soaps.
Hand sanitizer wipes: These are handy to have on the go, whether to clean hands or public surfaces. Don’t rely on just baby wipes because they do not kill germs.

Avoid these places that carry the most germs:
Public restrooms, especially the sink, because bacteria can survive there the longest. (Source: University of Arizona study)
Malls, especially food court tables, because rags used to “clean” can spread harmful bacteria – they can contain E. coli because they are not cleaned or changed regularly. (Source: Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University)
Grocery stores – This is where many people go when they are sick, whether to get some juice, chicken noodle soup, or medicine. As much as 80 percent of shopping cart handles tested nationwide had E. coli bacteria, according to Charles Gerba, Ph.D., University of Arizona.
Restaurants – One of the dirtiest areas is tabletops due to the “clean” rag used to wipe them down. (Source: Lifescript)
Libraries – Some of the dirtiest areas are the books, computers, and tabletops, just from the many people who touch them each day. (Source: Lifescript)


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