The Twindemic & the Elderly
COVID and Flu Season
The entire world has been struggling for over eight months to combat COVID-19, the Coronavirus, which is an infectious disease that attacks the respiratory system including the nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Now, it is flu season creating a collision of the two outbreaks potentially causing a ‘Twindemic’. The CDC says, “In the United States, flu season occurs in the fall and winter. While influenza viruses circulate year-round, most of the time flu activity peaks between December and February, but activity can last as late as May… Studies investigating the 1918 flu pandemic suggest that a second wave of COVID-19 is possible in the fall and winter of 2020. This would overlap with seasonal flu’s most active phase.”
Twindemic refers to the dual threat of a severe flu outbreak on top of the COVID-19 pandemic in the fall and winter of 2020. The term ‘Twindemic’ was used by New York Times writer Jan Hoffman in an August 2020 article. The article talks about the health and medical community’s reservations that people will not get flu shots due to a fear that they will become more susceptible to COVID-19. If that is the case, experts worry that it will cause an increase in flu infections which in turn will magnify the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic and again overwhelm the healthcare system.
The Elderly Population
Seasonal flu activity can be unpredictable, and it is common for healthy people to be hospitalized due to critical respiratory infection each year. More at risk groups such as the elderly, immunocompromised, people overweight, and people with diabetes need to take extra precautionary measures. 172.3 million flu vaccine doses have been distributed as of October 30, 2020. Manufacturers will continue to distribute the vaccine throughout the season. Medical experts recommend people 65 and older receive the three or four component vaccine. The Quadrivalent flu vaccine for seniors is designed to protect against four different flu viruses, including two influenza A viruses and two influenza B viruses. Flu shots are available at Doctors’ offices, pharmacies, grocery stores, and health departments. VaccineFinder.org is available to help find reliable and convenient flu vaccine locations.
Reduce the Spread of the Twindemic
- Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water
- Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer
- Wear a mask or face covering
- Get the flu shot ASAP
- Older adults should make sure they are up to date on the pneumonia vaccine
- Disinfect frequently touched surfaces often
- Social Distance, avoid close contact, stay at least 6 feet away from other people
- Avoid large gatherings
- Follow the CDC’s and local guidance on gatherings
- Limit trips to public places
- Opt for contactless delivery or pickup as much as possible
- Avoid unnecessary travel
- Recognize the different symptoms of COVID, the flu, a common cold, allergies, and asthma
Assisted Living Facilities Preventing the Twindemic
If you, a loved one, or a friend lives in an assisted living facility, you may be concerned about the twindemic. Golden Crest Assisted Living in Carroll County Maryland has had ZERO positive COVID cases up to this point. This is attributed to good practices and strictly following the guidelines the CDC has advised for long-term care facilities to protect your friends and family members.