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高齢者の方がインフルエンザに感染しないための対応のポイント

高齢者の方

インフルエンザの感染は誰もが避けたいものですが、特に、高齢者の方はインフルエンザの感染は避けたいものです。高齢者の方の場合にはどうしても抵抗力が弱まっている関係などから重篤な合併症などにつながる恐れがあるためです。

高齢者の方がインフルエンザに感染しないようにするための対応のポイントとしてはどのようなものがあるのでしょうか。

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高齢者の方のインフルエンザ対応の重要性

高齢者とまご

インフルエンザは冬に猛威を振るいます。冬にインフルエンザが猛威を振るうのは、インフルエンザウィルスが寒くて乾燥した空気を好むためです。そしてインフルエンザウィルスは「宿主」となる感染先を常に探しています。体の抵抗力が弱くなってきておられる高齢者の方は、インフルエンザウィルスの感染先としては「絶好」の対象となってしまいます。

高齢者の方は、インフルエンザウィルスに感染・発症してしまうと、抵抗力が弱っている関係から体力の消耗が激しくなってしまいます。またそれだけではなく、肺炎などの合併症も発症しやすく、場合によっては命に関わってしまうこともありえます。高齢者の方がおられる家庭ではインフルエンザウィルスに感染しないような対応をすることがとても重要となります。

では、高齢者の方がご家庭におられる場合、インフルエンザ感染予防としてはどのような対応を取ることが重要となるのでしょうか。

感染源を遮断する対応・特に接触感染について

インフルエンザは感染先を探して非常に強い感染力を持って空気中などを漂っています。そのため、まずは、インフルエンザウィルスの感染源を遮断するという対応を取ることが大切です。

インフルエンザウィルスの感染源は、①飛沫(せきやくしゃみなど)②空気の他に③接触という感染源があります。つまり、インフルエンザウィルスは、咳やくしゃみ、大気中に存在している状態の他に食器やドアノブなどに付着していることもあります。そのため、外から帰ってきた際にドアノブなどを触れた際に、手にインフルエンザウィルス付着していれば、そこから感染していくということも考えられます。

このようにインフルエンザに対する対応としては接触感染に対する対応も考えなくてはなりません。

ここで接触感染予防のために重要となるのが、やはり手洗いという対応です。手洗いをすることでインフルエンザウィルスはかなり綺麗に落とすことが可能です。

特に、手洗いは指と指の間、手首までしっかりと洗うという対応が重要です。高齢者のご家族にはしっかりと手を洗ってもらいインフルエンザに対応してもらうようにしましょう。

ご家族にインフルエンザ罹患者の方がいる場合

次に、ご家族内にインフルエンザ罹患者が既にいる場合には、インフルエンザ感染の可能性は非常に高いものとなります。この場合、高齢者の方についてはインフルエンザを家族内で「もらって」しまわないようにしっかりとした対処が特に必要です。

まず、マスクをしてインフルエンザの飛沫感染、空気感染を予防するという対処をすることが重要です。その上で、可能な限り、インフルエンザ罹患者の方とは接触をしないようにするという対処が必要でしょう。既に述べましたように、高齢者の方の場合にはインフルエンザに罹患してしまうと合併症などを引き起こしてしまうおそれがあり、可能な限り感染を防ぐ対処が重要です。

なお、インフルエンザは感染してしまっても1日から2日程度は発症しない潜伏期間があります。ご家族がインフルエンザにかかってしまった場合、ご年配の方などは抵抗力が低めであることから発症していなくともインフルエンザに既に感染しているという可能性もあります。

可能であれば、ご家族にインフルエンザの方が出た場合には高齢者の方の場合にはインフルエンザに感染していないか病院で検査をしてもらうという対応を取ることも良いでしょう。また、インフルエンザの対応は早いほど回復が早くなります(おおむね、発症から48時間以内にタミフル服用などの対応を取ると悪化しないで回復しやすくなります)

インフルエンザはあまり心配しすぎても、日常生活が不便となりますが、冬の時期やご家族にインフルエンザ罹患者がおられる場合には高齢者の方はやや対応しすぎているくらいでもちょうどいいということもできます。12月から3月上旬ころまでは高齢者の方は特にインフルエンザには十分に対応されることが大切です。

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まとめ:高齢者の方のインフルエンザ対応のまとめ

以上、本文で述べました高齢者の方のインフルエンザ予防・対応についてのポイントをまとめますと以下のようになります。

  • 高齢者の方の場合、インフルエンザに罹患してしまうと合併症を引き起こすなど重篤な状態となってしまう可能性が高いので十分な対応を取ることが大切となります
  • インフルエンザの感染を防ぐためには、感染源として接触感染を予防することも重要です。手洗いなどを中心としてインフルエンザ感染へ対応することが効果的です
  • ご家族にインフルエンザ罹患者の方がおられる場合にはマスクや可能な限り接触を避けるなどの対応が重要と言えます。また可能であれば、インフルエンザに感染していないかを病院で検査してもらうことも効果的な対応です

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