6 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors
It's that time of the year again—the time when we all wonder what kind of flu season it's going to be. While it's not possible to predict this, there are steps you and your senior loved ones can take now (the sooner the better) to lessen the chances of getting the flu and suffering its wrath. Here are 6 things to do today:
1. Get Your Flu Shot
The CDC recommends getting your flu shot as early as possible in the flu season. This is because it takes your body a couple of weeks to use the vaccine to create immunity to the strains covered in the shot. This year's flu shot has been updated to include more strains. Call your doctor today to find out when they expect to get this year's batch of flu vaccine and schedule an appointment to receive it. According to the CDC, even if the vaccine isn't a perfect match for this year's variants, the shot can still improve your body's immunity and reduce your chances of suffering serious complications if you do contract the flu.
2. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly and Often
After every bathroom visit, after blowing your nose, after being out and about, and always before eating, wash your hands with warm, soapy water. Scrub them and sing the "Happy Birthday" song twice, just to make sure. Frequently wipe down door knobs, cabinet handles, banisters, light switches, cell phones and anything else you touch frequently with sanitizing wipes. Always carry some wipes or sanitizing lotion with you when out in public, just to be safe, if you can't find a suitable place to wash your hands while out and about.
3. Avoid Touching Your Face
Avoid rubbing your eyes, nose, mouth, etc., as it can transfer germs from your hands right to your sensitive mucous membranes and respiratory system. So just avoid it, or use a tissue and wash your hands before and after scratching a facial itch.
4. Stay Hydrated
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. Carry a water bottle with the ounces marked on it so that you can keep track of your water intake and meet your goals. Staying hydrated helps your immune system and overall health, both before, during and after an illness, so chug that water!
5. Eat Immunity Boosting Foods
If you can, get plenty of leafy greens, broccoli, orange fruits and veggies (like citrus, carrots and sweet potatoes), berries and yogurt. Spice things up with ginger and cinnamon, and sip some green tea too. If you have dietary restrictions, talk with your doctor about immune-boosting supplements to cover any dietary gaps.
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
Stick to a regular, plentiful sleep schedule. Sleep deprivation can actually weaken your immune system and, and studies show that people who don't get enough sleep are more likely to get sick when exposed to the flu.