In the United States, the peak of cold and flu season falls between December and February. Though millions of adults get the flu each year, it can be more severe in older adults due to a slowed immune system and complications caused by other health conditions.
Luckily, with some simple measures you can prevent colds and the flu from getting the best of you. Read on to find seven tips that will help older adults stay healthy during cold and flu season, and learn how Querencia supports the health and wellness of residents.
7 Tips to Stay Healthy During Cold & Flu Season
If you want to avoid being under the weather this winter, try these seven tips to give your immune system an extra boost.
Get a Flu Shot
One of the best preventative measures you can take to reduce your chances of a nasty bout with the flu is a flu shot. This vaccine exposes your body to a weakened strain of the virus so it can build up antibodies to fight the germs more effectively. They are widely available at local pharmacies or from your primary care doctor, and are typically fully covered by insurance or Medicare.
In some cases, your doctor may recommend a high-dose flu shot. These are popular for people 65 and older, as they contain four times the amount of flu antigen. This higher dose stimulates the immune system as it slows with age, and offers greater protection during cold and flu season.
Hydrate and Rest
Your daily routine plays a big role in battling cold and flu germs. Make sure you have as much strength as possible by focusing on hydration and rest. As we age, we are less likely to feel thirsty during the day, so consider keeping a water bottle with you or having a regular hydration schedule to take a break and have a glass of water. Good sleep is also a critical factor in giving your body time to recharge. All adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Avoid Crowded Spaces
One of the reasons cold and flu infections spike during the wintertime is because people are spending more time indoors in close quarters. Whenever possible, avoid crowded spaces such as busy airports or big gatherings. However, this doesn’t mean you have to stay isolated during the holiday season. Friendships are important to your health as well. Just ensure everyone is honest about their symptoms and staying home if they feel sick.
Practice Diligent Hygiene
Staying on top of your regular hygiene will pay dividends during cold and flu season. When you touch public surfaces like doorknobs and handrails, wash your hands carefully with soap and water after. Also avoid touching your nose, face or mouth until after you’ve washed your hands. To prevent infections from airborne germs, a simple face mask can significantly reduce the risk of transmission.
Keep Things Clean
During cold and flu season, it’s important to put a little extra effort into keeping your high-use surfaces clean. Regularly wipe down surfaces such as phones, tablets, keyboards, doorknobs, light switches, tables and countertops with a disinfectant solution or wipe. For reusable cleaning supplies like sponges or rags, wash and change them out frequently to prevent germ buildup.
Having an active lifestyle as a senior is critical to overall health, and will help you ward off the worst of cold and flu germs. Even a moderate amount of exercise like a brisk walk or gentle yoga works to boost your immune system. Contrary to popular belief, colds are not caused by cold weather, so don’t hesitate to exercise outdoors and get some fresh air at the same time.
Focus on Nutrition
What you put in your body will make a difference during cold and flu season. Some basic nutrition tips include eating foods high in protein, eating fresh fruits and vegetables, adding an extra vitamin C supplement and avoiding alcohol. At communities like Querencia, our residents have access to multiple chef-led dining venues that cater to specific nutritional needs.
Find More Wellness Resources at Querencia
Our community at Querencia makes the health and wellness of residents our top priority. We work with each individual to create a custom wellness plan that incorporates intellectual, physical, social and spiritual wellbeing. With numerous thoughtful amenities and health services, we’re dedicated to helping residents get the most out of every day.
If you’d like to learn more about Querencia for yourself or a loved one, please contact us or complete the form below.