The Cold & Flu Season: How to Prevent Sickness in Older Adults

Posted by Park Central on Oct 9, 2019 11:13:36 AM
Park Central
As we age, our immune systems may relax a bit and cause us to become more vulnerable to infection. This is especially a concern during late fall and winter - the cold and flu season throughout most of the US.

For this reason, seniors should be particularly conscientious to take steps to prevent coming down with a cold or the flu this time of year. Here are the top 8 ways senior citizens can reduce their risk of a cold/flu infection:

1. Get The Flu Vaccine!

You can usually get a flu vaccine for free just before cold/flu season gets underway. And vaccination not only lowers your risk of getting infected but also tends to reduce the severity of a cold you may still get and prevent complications.

2. Drink Enough Water

Dehydration increases your risk of getting a bad cold. Drinking plenty of liquids - especially water, on a daily basis is your first line of defense. Hot tea is also helpful. Liquids keep your nasal cavity moist, which helps to trap germs before they spread throughout the body.

3. Eat Hot Chicken Soup

It's not just an old wives' tale - chicken soup really does help you better combat the weather and the germs during cold and flu season. It opens up your nasal passages, soothes your throat, and assists white blood cells in combating "invaders."

4. Keep Yourself & Your Home CLEAN

Washing and sanitizing your hands often, avoiding touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, and keeping up good oral and overall hygiene every day greatly lowers your chances of catching a cold. Also, keeping your home environment clean and sanitary further reduces your risk.

5. Get Plenty Of Vitamin C

Whether through fruits and vegetables, supplements, or both, be sure you get your recommended daily dose of vitamin C during cold season. It can help prevent colds and reduce symptoms. Keeping up a healthy diet in general also helps - especially getting enough protein via meats, eggs, and yogurt.

6. Get Proper Rest Every Night

If you are tired from sleeplessness, that weakens immune response and increases your chances of infection. Seniors should also consider using a dehumidifier at night and sleeping at a 45-degree angle to further reduce risk of getting a cold.

7. Get Enough Exercise

Older adults may not be able to do as much strenuous activity as in their younger days - but inactivity invites health problems. Making time for appropriate daily exercises and other physical activities strengthens your body, making it harder for you to get sick.

8. Avoid Contact With Sick People

The elderly are particularly vulnerable to infection from others who are already sick, so they should avoid being around sick people as much as possible. They should especially avoid hugging or shaking hands with the sick. And the more you limit travel and time with crowds of people in public - the better.

Following the above-given advice will greatly reduce the odds of catching a cold or the flu, but it is impossible to 100% guarantee it won't happen. If it does, seniors should waste no time and immediately seek medication from their primary care physician. The longer a cold goes untreated, the greater the risk it will turn into a severe case of the flu.

At Park Central, we offer independent and assisted living for seniors - and we offer key tips and advice to older adults to help them stay safe wherever they reside. For more helpful advice, or information on our modern senior living facilities, feel free to contact Park Central today!

Topics: Senior Living

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