The flu can become quite serious for seniors – especially those with other health conditions. Follow these five tips for flu prevention to increase the odds that you’ll remain healthy and safe this year.
According to WebMD, more than a billion colds are suffered each year in the US. And, adding in cases of influenza increases that number significantly. While the common cold is rarely considered dangerous in its own right, influenza – or the flu for short, can be downright deadly to seniors or those with other existing health conditions. The following five tips will help you to improve your chances of keeping the flu at bay this year:
Get vaccinated: The flu vaccine has been proven to minimize the effects and dangers of the flu, and most healthcare professionals will recommend that you get your flu shot between the months of October and November each year. New vaccines are created each year to directly combat the constantly changing flu viruses. Most healthcare plans will cover the flu shot, and if not, they are often available at a reasonable cost from local pharmacies.
Wash your hands: Washing is one of the most effective – and cost effective, ways to minimize your chances of getting the flu this year. Make sure that you wash with warm water, use plenty of soap, scrub vigorously from the wrists down (even clean under your nails each time you wash), and use paper towels to dry your hands. Try to avoid touching common surfaces in public restrooms with bare hands.
Get plenty of sleep: Sleep is a scarce commodity for many of us – but it doesn’t have to be! In fact, focusing on getting enough sleep each night is one of the most powerful ways that you can keep the flu or other seasonal ailments away. A rested individual can fight infections more effectively, and an immune system that is performing at peak levels will often keep you one step ahead of the flu or common cold.
Exercise: By committing to at least 30-45 minutes of daily exercise, you’ll boost your immune system and reduce the risk of the flu or common cold by as much as 30%. Plus, exercise provides a laundry list of other important health benefits that will provide enhanced resistance to other ailments. Partner with a friend to stay motivated, and watch as you reap the benefits of a consistent exercise program.
Teach kids and grandkids to keep clean: Even if you remain vigilant and focused on preventing a reoccurrence of the flu this year, you may still be susceptible if you are surrounded by those who don’t practice good hygiene. Kids are often the guilty parties here – after all, they’re frequently too busy having fun to think about hand washing, covering mouths when they sneeze, and more. Try to instill good, hygienic behaviors early on and you’ll minimize your chances of contracting the flu or a cold.
The flu is nothing to take lightly. While a yearly vaccine is the surest way to reduce your chances of suffering through the full range of flu symptoms this year, never underestimate the power of good hygiene, plenty of rest and moderate exercise.