Flu season is upon us, and it’s time to start thinking about how to keep its effects to a minimum. Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) classified the 2018-2019 flu season as “moderate,” they also pointed out that it was the longest-lasting flu season in a decade. There’s no predicting exactly what this next flu season will be like, but it’s important to be prepared. Seniors, as well as people with certain conditions like heart disease and diabetes, are more vulnerable to the flu than younger people are. Therefore, it’s crucial for seniors to take steps to keep this pesky and potentially life-threatening illness at bay:
Get the most current flu shot.
We all know that it’s important to stay up to date on getting the flu vaccine, especially for people in vulnerable groups. The flu vaccine not only greatly reduces the likelihood that one will get the flu, but also makes it less severe in cases in which it is contracted. Furthermore, if a majority of the community gets the vaccine then the entire community (including the few that did not receive the vaccine) is less likely to come into contact with and contract the flu. According to the CDC, flu vaccination reduces the amount of intensive care unit admissions, the duration and frequency of hospitalizations, and deaths from influenza.
Nurture your immune system.
A strong immune system is not only more resilient against the flu and other illnesses than a weak or compromised one is—but it also boosts the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Here are a few things you can do to boost or maintain your immune system:
- Refrain from smoking.
- Eat a plant-based diet.
- Get regular moderate exercise.
- Keep your weight in check.
- Drink alcohol in moderation (if you drink at all).
- Get plenty of sleep.
Wash your hands as often as you can.
Antibacterial soap is effective at combating germs that can cause a variety of illnesses, including the flu. Contrary to popular belief, however, basic bar soap (without antibacterial properties) is also effective. The real germ-fighting action comes from rubbing the hands together for at least 20 seconds at a time. The skin can’t tolerate the high temperatures that would be necessary to actually kill most germs, but warm water is a better solvent than cold water (meaning it’s more effective at breaking up and washing away anything that may be on your hands). However, when it comes to killing germs, tolerably hot water is essentially just as effective as cold water. The experts recommend washing your hands after touching anything that could potentially harbor germs, but in a pinch, hand sanitizer can be an effective way to bridge the gap between hand-washings. It’s also important to resist touching your face as much as possible and make sure your hands are clean before doing so.
At Village park Senior Living, we’re devoted to the health and happiness of seniors. If you’re interested in learning more about assisted living, independent living, memory care, or any of the many programs & activities we offer, please contact Village Park Senior Living for more information. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for updates and to check back often for new blogs.