We’re heading into cold and flu season, and since older adults, and particularly those 65 years of age and older have an increased risk of developing serious complications from the flu, we thought we would highlight 5 tips to help keep those germs at bay.
- The flu shot. A flu shot will reduce your risk of getting the flu, or reduce the severity of symptoms if it is contracted. The CDC recommends getting the flu shot early in the season because it can take up to two weeks for the body to develop immunity.
- Handwashing. Germs spread quickly and easily, especially since they can linger on places like tables, counters, desks and doorknobs for up to 8 hours. Luckily, washing with soap and water eliminates them. This time of year, wash hands more frequently, particularly after any public outings. You’ll also want to keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose to help prevent germs from entering your body.
- Get outside. Fresh air offers the immune system a boost. It increases the amount of oxygen we receive which helps our white blood cells function properly, fighting and killing bacteria and germs. During peak cold and flu season it’s a good idea to avoid crowded spaces, but that doesn’t mean avoiding friends and gatherings completely. Getting out for a walk or some sight-seeing, enjoying coffee or a movie with friends are great pastimes that will reduce stress, and help ward off sickness.
- Plenty of rest. A good night’s sleep goes a long way for your health. In fact, one study found that those who slept less than seven hours a night were almost three times more likely to develop a cold than those who slept eight or more hours.
- Eat well. Diet plays a significant role in how our bodies function. Now that we’re heading into flu season, cut back on the processed foods and concentrate more on fresh, colourful produce. Dark, leafy greens, oranges and squash are great immune boosters, and so are things like garlic, kiwi and mushrooms.
Let us know of any other tips you have, and stay healthy!