Flu season can be a dreaded time of year for all of us – especially for seniors. As we age, our immune systems do not function as efficiently as they once did, making us more susceptible to influence and its side effects. In fact, 90% of flu-related deaths and more than half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in people age 65 and older. Because of this increased risk, it is imperative that seniors know how to protect themselves from the flu.
Here are some ways in which you can protect yourself this flu season:
Get the Flu Vaccine
The flu is spread virally and is highly contagious. The best way to avoid contracting it is to get a flu vaccine shot, which provides protection against infection from the flu strains most likely to be prevalent during the coming season. Contact your healthcare provider to discuss your options for getting vaccinated.
Be Proactive in Staying Healthy
Leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial to protecting yourself and keeping your immune system strong. This includes eating nutritious foods, drinking plenty of fluids and washing your hands throughout the day.
Tea has numerous health benefits, especially when you are ill. Breathing in the steam from tea will stimulate the hair follicles in your nose, which will help rid germs that get trapped in your nasal cavity. Adding a little honey to your tea not only makes it taste better, it also acts as a natural antibacterial.
Get Plenty of Sleep
A crucial part of maintaining your body’s health is to get the proper amount of sleep. If you are depriving yourself of the suggested seven to eight hours of sleep per night, you are putting yourself at risk for a weakened immune system. Sleeping provides your body with time to repair itself from the day’s activities.
The most common way to contract the flu is by coming in direct contact with someone that has the virus. If you see people that are coughing or sneezing, keep your distance. If a loved one is suffering from the flu, avoid visiting them until they have become well again. If your significant other is sick, see if it is possible for someone who is at a reduced risk of contracting the flu to care for them. Remember to wash your hands after every encounter.
Remember, if you start to suffer from symptoms of the flu seek medical attention immediately.