Millions of Americans fall ill with the flu each year. However, there are actionable steps you can take to reduce your risk of illness from influenza, as well as other respiratory infections, like Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV), COVID-19 and cold viruses like rhinovirus. Here are five easy tips for seniors to stay healthy during cold and flu season.
What Are the Most Common Flu Symptoms?
Flu viruses affect everyone differently. While some may experience milder symptoms, others may be at risk for severe illness or even hospitalization. This is especially true for older adults who have weaker immune systems on average.
With that said, there are many common flu symptoms that may be present with an illness. These symptoms include:
- Head and body aches
- Runny or stuffy noses
Additionally, many flu symptoms are similar to cold symptoms. However, colds are generally less severe.
Five Tips to Stay Healthy This Cold and Flu Season
Cold and flu are common during the winter months, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to get sick. There are effective and easy steps you can take to reduce your risk of contracting an illness. While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent cold or flu, these five tips are your best defense.
1. Get Vaccinated for the Flu
Yearly flu shots are the easiest way for seniors to protect themselves from the flu. Each year, flu shots are updated in an attempt to anticipate circulating strains of the virus. These vaccines give the immune system a boost to be prepared to respond to a flu infection.
In some cases, adults over the age of 65 may also be eligible for a high-dose flu vaccine. These specially formulated vaccines elicit a stronger immune response in older adults to better protect against illness.
2. Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is important all year round. However, it’s even more important during cold and flu season. Be sure to regularly wash your hands with soap and water and use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol to kill viruses and germs.
Along with good hygiene, be sure to avoid touching areas of the face that may allow viruses to more easily enter the body. This includes your eyes, nose and mouth.
3. Sanitize High-Touch Areas
Cold and flu viruses can easily spread through surface transmission. Be sure to keep common areas like kitchens and bathrooms clean and free from germs. Pay close attention to objects that may be touched by multiple people, including door handles, light switches and faucets.
Are you carrying a cell phone? Make sure you clean and sanitize it, too. Cell phones can harbor viruses that can make you ill.
4. Avoid Crowds When Possible
Large groups of people can spread illness, especially in areas that are not well-ventilated. One sick person in a crowd can make many more sick, which is why it is important to avoid crowds and unnecessary travel during cold and flu season if possible.
In the event you must travel or visit common spaces, consider planning your activities during less crowded periods. This small compromise allows you to maintain an active lifestyle while reducing your risk of illness.
5. Take Care of Your Body
A healthy diet and exercise are great immune system boosters. By eating well, getting active and prioritizing your health, your body will be better prepared to fight off illness.
In addition to diet and exercise, be sure to drink plenty of liquids and get adequate rest each night. Though they may seem like small changes, both can have profound effects on your immune system.
Make Your Health a Priority at Friendship Village of Bloomington
Your retirement years should be spent living life to the fullest. Wellness is a key part of that plan, and at Friendship Village of Bloomington, we understand that as well as anyone. That’s why we’ve been named one of the “Top 5 Best in Wellness” senior living communities in North America.
Our community isn’t about us, however. It’s about you. We want you to experience an idyllic retirement in our neck of Minnesota. Come see us, take a look around and picture yourself here. We think you’ll like it here.
Have any questions? Contact us for more information.