For many, the winter season is the best season of all. It brings with it the holidays, snowy settings, and fun family traditions. Unfortunately, this time of year is also when we see a lot more illnesses floating around, especially among our aging adult population. Germs can spread rapidly with everyone spending more time indoors and at social gatherings. So what can you do to protect yourself from catching the flu bug this season? Take a look at our top tips for how senior adults can stay healthy during the winter months.
Get the Flu Vaccine
One very important line of defense against the flu is to start with a flu shot. Especially for our senior adults, this can greatly reduce your chances of contracting the flu. More than just the inconvenience of being sick, the flu poses a substantially greater risk to our aging population who can suffer severe side effects and a very long recovery time compared to younger generations. Flu shots are widely available and most commonly free.
Maintain Good Hygiene Practices
This flu season, make it a commitment to stay ahead of germs by practicing smart hygiene. This means thoroughly washing your hands after using the restroom or when out in public spaces, and washing your hands every time before you touch food, your mouth, or eyes. This is a very simple yet highly effective step for reducing flu germs, and any other germs, from calling your home their home.
Staying active in the winter is not always easy, but it is worth it. Getting in a little bit of physical activity every day has been proven to boost your immune system which wards off illnesses like the flu. In the dark, winter months, staying active can also boost your emotional wellness. Getting out of your home, seeing friends and neighbors, and stretching or moving your body is good for the mind, body, and soul.
See the Doctor – Only When Necessary
When you come down with a common winter illness, the best thing to do is to rest and give yourself time to get over the illness at home. For something that appears common, non-life-threatening, and is showing signs of improving, you don’t need to rush to the doctor to confirm the obvious. The doctor’s office is frequented by sick people, so every time you come in for an appointment you’re also exposing yourself to additional germs. If symptoms worsen or become severe, absolutely see a doctor, but otherwise try to avoid public places where germs tend to follow, like a doctor’s office.
Avoid Crowds and Limit Travel
Another smart tip to limit your exposure to the flu this season, especially for our aging population, is to avoid large crowds and limit travel. Again, these public spaces tend to be where large amount of germs reside. By exposing yourself to them, you’re also exposing yourself to these germs. Limit your risk by sticking to smaller, more personal spaces and using good hygiene to get rid of any germs that may have come home with you.
Focus on Hydration and Nutrition
Finally, focus on drinking lots of water and fueling your body with good nutrition. This will help give your body the resources it needs to produce a healthy immune system and put up a strong line of defense against germs. Increase your intake of Vitamin C to further boost your immune system, and incorporate some herbal teas into your diet to soothe dry throats while offering additional hydration.
The bottom line to staying healthy this flu season is to be proactive and smart with your health habits. If you haven’t already gotten flu shot, the best time to do that is now. Also, stock up on supplies like tissues antimicrobial wipes, and hand sanitizer so it’s quick and convenient to keep hands and surfaces clean. With a little planning ahead you can save yourself from the negative impact of coming down with, and spreading the flu this season.