How a retirement community is protecting residents from the flu

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- People with the flu has been keeping hospitals quite busy, while the virus closes down schools across West Michigan. But kids aren't the only ones in danger of catching it.

FOX 17  looked into what a local retirement community is doing to help protect the  elderly from the flu.

“We had to go and do a lot of education. We put things on TV, we put things on flyers," said Jan Slot, director of services at Clark Retirement Community. "We went around and talked to people and said please, please, please stay in your rooms. Lots of fluids, wash your hands a lot, and stay away from others.”

Clark is taking measures to help prevent the spread of the virus, such as closing down the salad bar and  skipping group activities.  Hand sanitizer can be found all over the facility.

Medical experts say things like elderly patients' overall health can impact their chances of catching the flu. "They probably have more chronic conditions than you or I would have as a young, healthy individual,” said Elizabeth Suing, a physician's assistant at MedNow, a division of Spectrum Health. 

There's also one simple measure we can all do to help keep the flu at bay. “Definitely washing your hands, washing your hands, washing your hands. I can’t say that enough," emphasized Suing.

Medical professionals warn people with the flu only have a small time frame before anti-viral medications stop working. “Within 48 hours is that special window where the anti viral Tamiflu is going to be most effective.”

The good news is flu season will come to an end, and that is something residents are excited about.

"They’re anxious to come out and have life again at Clark," said Slot.

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