Influenza And The Immune System

Decent Essays
As a health science major or even someone adequately informed on healthcare knowledge knows which populations are more susceptible to infections. Those populations being children, elderly, and immune deficient or compromised populations. While the immune comprised are just how their title makes them sound, their immune systems do not function properly whether it is due to genetics or simply something they are going through health wise. Children however have not yet had the chance to build up their immune systems to fight off the pathogens they have been exposed to. Simply because they have not been around long enough to encounter these pathogens and strengthen their immune systems. Now the population at hand, elders. Unlike children they have …show more content…
“Of deaths resulting from influenza, 80 to 90 percent occur in adults 65 years and older. Older adults are prone to severe and potentially fatal complications from this common illness because of co-existing chronic disease and weakened immunity” (Mouton, 2001). Some of the complications the flu could lead to are bronchitis and or pneumonia. The clinical manifestations from having influenza may include a rapid onset of a headache, muscle aches, cough, sore throat, fever, chills, and malaise (general feeling of discomfort). Theses signs and symptoms occurring in younger patients also occur in older adults although, like mention previously, may be absent. Unlike pneumonia, influenza has rapid diagnostic tests that can detect the virus within thirty minutes. For treatment there are antiviral agents available, however, they must be taken within forty-eight hours of onset. This is difficult due to the fact that many patients wait to pursue treatment from a healthcare professional. This is why in most cases the flu is only treated with over the counter medications to reduce symptoms. “Older adults can benefit most from vaccination, early detection and aggressive therapy… Most people recover fully within one week, but older adults may develop a persistent weakness that can last for many weeks” (Mouton, …show more content…
Vaccines are one way to help prevent these occurrences from happening. “Pneumococcal vaccine decreases the risk of pneumococcal bacteremia by 75 percent in immunocompetent persons 65 years or older. In nursing home residents, the vaccine is 50 to 60 percent effective in preventing pneumococcal bacteremia and 80 percent effective in preventing death from pneumonia” (Mouton, 2001). Influenza also has a yearly available vaccine during flu season. Although influenza has many strains with the ability to mutate, the vaccine is designed to target the strain that is most likely to cause illness among all populations. It can reduce the risk of infection by thirty to seventy percent in the elderly. Receiving the vaccination also resulted in a decrease of mortality from all causes in older adults during the influenza season. These vaccines are normally administered intramuscularly as an inactivated virus.
Another way to reduce these acute infectious diseases among not only the elder generations but the whole population is awareness. It is important for all ages to have regular visits to their physician as preventative measure, not only when it is too late and they are already sick. On the other hand, urinary tract infections can be limited by decreasing the use of urinary catheters and resorting to hormone or pharmacological therapy or surgical

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