Letter: Saving Senior Citizens this Flu Season

Flu season has arrived dramatically this season and, with it, a threat to the lives of the elderly.

If you suspect your elder loved one (parent, grandparent, neighbor, etc.) is struggling with heavy upper respiratory distress, I urge you to take proactive steps and get to the Emergency Room. I think it saved the life of a family member because we took Dad, in his 90’s, to the Emergency Dept. at University Hospitals St. John Medical Center one night two weeks ago.

We didn’t ‘wait until morning’ top see if he felt better after a night of wheezing, coughing and thrashing at home on his back.

Instead, we were welcomed by the ER staff at St. John with immediate care that included a thorough exam, respiratory therapy treatments, chest x-rays, and antibiotics that night.

“Acute intervention,” is the term his doctor used the next day when he described the decision to take him in. “He will now be able to claim the quality of the life that is still his.”

Had we waited until his condition morphed into full-blown pneumonia, this holiday season might surely be one of sadness. Now, Dad is home, feeling better and on his way to rightfully claiming that quality of life a proactive medical intervention preserved.

If you are faced with respiratory illness in an elder loved one this season, err on the side of caution and take them to an Emergency Department like the one at UH St. John Medical Center. Don’t wait for the baseline health of the frail and elderly fall past the point of no return.

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