It’s that time again – Flu season is here, and unfortunately, those of us 65+ can be at great (and some would argue greatest) risk. Despite the various and sobering statistics, there are steps we can take to protect ourselves and those we love from getting sick.
Here are 10 tips seniors can take to avoid the flu-
1. Avoid touching your face.
Though it’s one of the easiest, most mindless things we do, touching our face is actually one of the fastest ways to give germs free access to enter the body. Especially during flu season, it is important that we keep our hands away from our face if at all possible.
2. Clean your phone.
The phone is a sneaky device we often forget when it comes to the battling the flu. But the phone can actually be one of the greatest hotbeds for germs. Disinfecting it carefully–according to care instructions–can actually prevent a lot of unnecessary contact with the germs we are trying to avoid. Especially if we let anyone else use our phone, it is essential we keep it clean. Use a sanitizing wipe or small amount of rubbing alcohol on a clean cloth to carefully wipe down the device regularly.
3. Disinfect your space.
During flu season, it is a good idea to keep your environment as germ-free as possible. Disinfect, disinfect, disinfect. Be especially thorough in the kitchen and bathroom as germs tend to lurk in these particular places. And though this may be obvious, it bears repeating: Be sure to use clean sponges and rags, since using dirty cleaning supplies will actually work against your goal of eliminating germs and staying healthy. If you know someone sick has recently been at your house, be especially ruthless in your cleaning effort.
4. Drink water. (And when you’re done, drink some more!)
Staying hydrated is key to staying healthy. And water is the best way to stay properly hydrated. Fortunately, if water isn’t your thing, you can drink other liquids–including hot tea–to maintain the right fluid intake. (P.S. Hot tea is very helpful for supporting your nasal passages, which are a powerful, natural mechanism for blocking unhealthy germs from entering the body.) Bottom line: Hydrate as often as you can to give your body its best fighting chance against the flu.
5. Stay home.
So you certainly don’t need to stay home for the length of the flu season–especially since staying social is a good, healthy decision–but as often as possible, avoid people who are sick. Reschedule lunch plans or ask for a rain check if you know your group is feeling under the weather. Don’t be embarrassed to pass on an invitation! Advocating for your own health will also advocate for the health of those you love. The best remedy in the fight against the flu is to avoid flu germs at all cost.
6. Exercise, exercise, exercise.
Even a moderate amount of exercise goes a long way in boosting your immune system and protecting your body from the flu. Take a walk or go swimming. Find an activity you enjoy and do it regularly. Staying active is vital to staying healthy.
7. Get your flu vaccine.
Though people have strong opinions either way, studies consistently show that getting the flu vaccine reduces your risk of getting the flu–or at the very least–can lessen the severity of the flu in the unfortunate event that you get it. And since flu can often lead to further complications, protecting yourself against it can be especially important. Talk to your doctor about the benefits of getting the vaccine, even if you think you’ve waited too long or aren’t convinced whether or not it’s for you.
8. Postpone travel.
Unless traveling is absolutely necessary, it’s a great idea to avoid traveling during flu season. Being in crowds or in tightly closed spaces with other people is an invitation for germs to travel quickly and powerfully. Plus, being tired is an invitation for illness.
9. Take your vitamins.
Talk to your doctor about which vitamins and how much of each to take to best suit your specific needs, but keep in mind that studies show Vitamin C to reduce the risk of getting the flu. The best way to get Vitamin C is naturally–through the food we eat–but supplements can be a great help.
10. Wash your hands.
Frequently and thoroughly washing our hands throughout the day can be a powerful force for good in the fight against the flu. Washing your hands under warm water with soap for 20 seconds each time is a good place to start.
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