Catching a cold or flu isn’t fun for anyone of any age, but for seniors, a cold or flu can be much more serious than having to stay in bed a couple days. Because our immune systems weaken with age, seniors are at a greater risk for complications from the flu. It could turn into something more severe, like pneumonia or bronchitis. Luckily, there are ways to keep seniors healthy and help fight off sickness. Here are some preventative measures to help seniors avoid getting sick during cold and flu season.
1. Get the flu shot
The single most effective way to combat the flu is with the annual flu vaccine. It becomes available when flu season begins, in October, but is still available long after. You may want to consult a health care provider, but the flu shot is considered safe for most healthy seniors. You can also a doctor about the pneumonia vaccine, another preventative measure you keep your senior loved one healthy.
2. Regulate visitors
Seniors love company, but when visitors come during cold and flu season, so do their germs. When planning a visit, consider leaving your children at home – kids bring in germs that could be transmitted to seniors. Make sure that all family and friends who visit are healthy. If you’re feeling under the weather and can’t keep your senior loved one company, BookJane can set you up with a qualified caregiver to visit in your place.
3. Increase immunity
It’s important that our bodies are healthy and in working order during the cold and flu season to fight off infections. The best things a senior can do to boost their immune system? Get lots of rest, eat right (including nutrients, vitamins, and probiotics), stay hydrated, and get physical activity.
4. Proper hand washing
Seniors, their caregivers, and their visitors should all be aware of proper hand washing routines. Wash frequently and thoroughly. In order to kill bacteria, hands should be scrubbed with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash up before and after eating, using the bathroom, blowing your nose, sneezing, and coming into contact with others. Make sure alcohol-based sanitizer is available as well for a more convenient, on-the-go alternative.
5. Avoid crowds
Reduce the risk of getting sick by keeping your distance. It’s obvious to stay away from people who are visibly sick, but did you know that people might be contagious before they even develop symptoms? Just to be safe, it’s best to be very cautious congested places, like cars, elevators, malls.
6. Reduce stress
You are less likely to get sick if you are healthy – not only physically, but mentally too. Your body doesn’t function properly when you’re stressed, which can reduce its ability to fight off infections, leading to illness. To help relieve some stress, use BookJane to find a caregiver to keep your senior company and help them with tasks around the house.
7. Keep the home clean
To stay healthy, it’s important that seniors live in a clean environment. Wipe off shared surfaces, like doorknobs, light switches, phones and remote controls, with disinfecting cleaner. This will help prevent the spread of germs and help keep your senior loved ones healthy this cold and flu season.