Nobody likes being sick. Nursing a stuffy head, aching joints, fever, sore throat, and cough isn’t any fun. As a senior, you’re at higher risk for flu complications, but with some simple strategies, you can keep those germs at bay. Best Ways for Seniors to Avoid the Flu
Why bother? There are flu strains which are especially vicious. Some research reflects that there are times when otherwise perfectly healthy adults can die from catching the flu. There is a chance the flu will progress into secondary bacterial infections or pneumonia, and according to Familydoctor.org, seniors are at higher risk for complications.
Get vaccinated. One of the top methods for fighting the flu is receiving a vaccination. Ideally, you would get the vaccination when it is first available in the fall, but you can be vaccinated at any time during the flu season and still reap benefits. The flu vaccine is recommended for people over six months of age except under the following conditions:
Normally, there are no side effects from getting the flu vaccine other than some tenderness in your arm for a few days.
Keep your distance. If someone is coughing or sneezing, you should give that person some space. Flu germs are carried in our respiratory system, and when we cough or sneeze, they become airborne in tiny droplets. Since you can’t really assess the reason someone may be coughing or sneezing, it’s best to err on the safe side
Don’t touch your face. You can’t catch the flu through your skin, but you may come into contact with germs on surfaces your hands touch. You could then transmit the germs to your nose or mouth by touching your face.
Wash your hands. Any time you touch surfaces flu-infected people touched you risk picking up flu germs. Door knobs, light switches, and keyboards are all fair game for harboring the virus. Wash your hands after using communal property to be on the safe side.
Clean surfaces. When someone with the flu spreads germs, those flu germs can hang around for up to a full day and still make you sick. If a family member is ill, it’s important to clean common areas every day. This applies to more than your kitchen table and countertops. Think about all the commonly handled surfaces and give them a cleansing, such as refrigerator door handles, remote controls, and phone chargers.
Practice self-care. It’s always important to take care of yourself, but some experts note it can be a key strategy in avoiding the flu. Make sure you’re getting probiotics through foods like yogurt or via a supplement, maintain an exercise routine, get plenty of sleep, and try adding some garlic to your diet since it’s shown to help fight viruses.
Careful around your pup. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain there is currently no evidence that viruses spread between humans and canines, if someone in your house has the flu and snuggles with your pooch, the germs can be carried to you. Along those same lines, viruses mutate all the time and sometimes spread between species. The “bird flu” is a well-known example. If the canine flu does become viable for humans, or human flu transmits to dogs, the risks could be serious. As explained by Rover.com, “Interspecies transmission of a virus sometimes creates a more harmful or easily transmissible mutation to occur. This can be especially dangerous with the influenza virus, which is able to evolve pretty easily.”
Stay healthy! As a senior, it’s important to avoid getting the flu, and nobody wants to be sick. Take steps to care for your health. These simple strategies can help you steer clear of being sick!
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As a co-owner of Senior.com, Kimberly Johnson is passionate about providing Seniors with the resources and products to live well. Kimberly is a seasoned caregiver to her family and breast cancer survivor. Her father battled ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, for 13 months before passing. Today Kimberly lives in Southern California near her 102 year old grandmother, widowed mother, a mentally disabled sister and second sister who is also a breast cancer survivor. She is happily married to her husband of 22 years and they have 3 children.View All Articles