A Cold Or Flu Could Have A Major Impact On The Elderly. Help Your Loved One Stay Healthy.
As someone with an autoimmune disease who takes immune system suppressants to control my condition, I am well-versed on the importance of preventing colds and especially the flu. Like the elderly, the flu can cause serious health issues. Even a cold can take a very long time to recover from.
All that is to say, I know a thing or two about preventing illness. I work really hard to reduce exposure to germs, with is a challenge with a 3 and 7 year old. Fortunately, my sons have built up their immunities and don’t get sick often. The first year of daycare and kindergarten for my kids was a revolving door of illness. As a result, I had several bouts of bronchitis, frequent sinus infections and felt like I was sick every week.
9 Steps to Prevent Colds and Flu
- Get Vaccinated: Nearly 90 percent of death from influenza occurred in people age 65 or older. The best way to prevent the flu is to get a flu vaccine. In addition to the caree getting a flu shot, those who are in close proximity should also get a flu shot. In addition to the flu shot, you should also ask your parent’s doctor about the pneumonia vaccine, which is administered every 5 years.
- Wash Hands Frequently: I am an almost obsessive hand washer. It truly does help in preventing the spread of germs. Use warm water, lather up and wash frequently.
- Avoid Crowded Places If Possible: Of course, we still need to live our lives and socialize, so we can’t always avoid crowds. If you are in crowded spaces, try to avoid standing near people who are visibly sick. If you can’t wash your hands immediately after touching door knobs or other surfaces, use hand sanitizer for the time being. It doesn’t replace hand washing, but it will help for the short term.
- Wipe Down Germy Areas: If your caree lives with other people, wipe down germy surfaces regularly to prevent the spread of germs. Of course, you should also be doing this in your own home. Surfaces include door knobs, light switches, remote controls, keys, faucet knobs, etc.
- Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face: Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth to prevent bringing the germs into your mouth.
- Stay Hydrated: Studies have shown that staying hydrated may boost a particular immune response.
- Exercise: Exercise has been proven to boost the immune system, which helps prevent cold and flu viruses from making us sick.
- Take Probiotics: Probiotics can help keep the body healthy. A recent study found that regular use of probiotics keeps people healthier and reduces the incidence of upper respiratory infections. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, however, in some cases, the bacteria doesn’t survive the digestive process so you may want to consider an over the counter supplement (Culturelle, Align, Digestive Advantage).
- Eat Well: A healthy diet can strengthen your immune system. A recent study found that providing seniors with plenty of nutrients powered their immune systems and helped them to prevent the flu virus.
Hopefully these tips will help you and your aging parents remain healthy this cold and flu season. I do all of these in my home and even with a compromised immune system, I manage to get through this season relatively unscathed.