Senior woman with a cold.

Cold & Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

Cold and flu season is here, and everyone should take certain measures to remain healthy. Seniors, in particular, are more susceptible to these illnesses and need to be extra cautious. But there’s no need to resign yourself to being sick in bed for weeks! You can stay healthy during cold and flu season with a few simple precautions and a little extra care. This article provides some easy-to-follow cold and flu prevention tips for seniors.

Get the Annual Flu Vaccine 

Vaccines help create immunity against certain flu virus strains, and not only do they protect you, but your vaccine will also protect people around you who may also be vulnerable. Studies have shown that flu vaccines can reduce hospitalizations and save lives in senior populations, so you should get your shot before cold and flu season begins.

Eat Well 

Eating a balanced diet loaded with fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins gives your body the nutrients it needs to function at its highest level and fight off incoming illnesses during the cold winter months. Eating healthy also keeps your energy levels up, which is crucial when trying to stay active and healthy – any time of year.

Wash Hands Frequently

You’ve heard it before, but washing your hands is one of the best defenses against winter illnesses like the cold and flu. Not only does this simple step reduce the risk of becoming ill yourself, but it can also prevent others from getting sick. If handwashing is not an option, using hand sanitizer can also reduce the chance of infection.

Avoid Crowds and Close Contact with Others

As we all learned firsthand in 2020, social distancing is key to avoiding outbreaks, so seniors should stay home as much as possible during cold and flu season, especially those most susceptible to severe symptoms. By avoiding large gatherings, you can guard yourself against the flu. When you are around others, you should maintain a physical distance between yourself and other people to reduce your chances of coming into direct contact with respiratory droplets that could contain viruses and other germs. 

Sleep Well

Quality sleep helps the body to repair itself, strengthens the immune system, and reduces stress – all of which can help seniors stay healthy. To get optimal nighttime sleep, you should establish good sleep habits, avoid stimulants like blue lights (from your phone, TV, or computer) late at night, and use relaxation techniques before bed.

Stay Active

Exercise helps strengthen the immune system and reduce stress. Regular physical activity can help seniors prevent winter illnesses by improving circulation so that white blood cells travel throughout the body more efficiently, allowing them to fight off infection. 

Stay Hydrated

Staying hydrated is essential for overall well-being, especially during flu season. Dehydration can have a negative effect on seniors’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to illnesses like the flu and cold. Sipping on water throughout the day will help maintain hydration levels and keep your body functioning at its best. If necessary, set a timer on your phone to help you remember to drink water regularly throughout the day.

Avoid Touching Your Face

The nose, eyes, and mouth are the most common points of entry for germs, so when you touch your face, you risk transferring bacteria or viruses from your fingertips to these areas. If you feel like you need to touch your face, it’s best to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before doing so.

Disinfect Surfaces 

Disinfecting commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and remote controls can help prevent the spread of germs from one person to another. Germs can linger on surfaces for hours or even weeks, so if someone touches an infected surface, they could become infected with a virus or bacteria.

Stay Healthy All Year at Plush MillsAt Plush Mills, we understand how vital it is to stay healthy, so our staff is here to guide you and help you take the proper precautions during cold and flu season. Our community offers dedicated resources such as a health and wellness office, a fitness studio, and nutritious meal plans. To learn more about our services and how we can help you stay healthy this winter, visit us today!