It’s no secret that our immune systems begin to relax a bit as we age, which makes us more prone to infection. Risk for contracting the flu is at an all-time high every fall and winter.
So what can you do to keep yourself protected and keep your immune system strong?
1. Get your flu shot
This vaccine not only lowers your risk of getting infected but also tends to reduce the severity if you’re unfortunate enough to be infected.
2. Get your fluids
Dehydration is the enemy of a healthy immune system. Keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, hot tea, fruit infused water, and other healthy sips. Sip daily and throughout the day to maintain constant hydration.
3. Keep it clean
This goes for both yourself and your home. You should practice regular hand washing and sanitizing, avoid touching your mouth, nose, and eyes, and keep up with your overall hygiene every day.
Keeping your home clean, as well as wiping down counters, thoroughly cleaning dishes, and keeping the restroom sanitary can also help reduce your risk of catching a cold.
4. Load up on Vitamin C
It should come from whole food sources like fruits and vegetables, but can also be very helpful in supplement form. Just be sure to check the ingredients on any supplement you’re considering to ensure that the dosage is high enough (typically you’ll want 1,000 mg or higher per serving) and that there are no harmful added ingredients like sugar.
5. Get your ZZZs
The immune system is strengthened and replenishes while you sleep. When you’re sleep deprived, your immune system suffers and has a hard time fighting off any viruses that may be introduced. You can also use a cool-air humidifier at night while you sleep to help reduce the risk of catching a cold.
6. Get moving
Older adults may not be able to do as much strenuous activity as in their younger days – but inactivity invites health problems. Making time for appropriate daily exercises and other physical activities strengthens your body, making it harder for you to get sick.
7. Practice social distancing
If you know someone is sick or was exposed to someone who was sick, you should practice social distancing with them. Do not plan to meet them in person, and if you must, be sure to stay 6-10 feet away and avoid shaking hands, hugging, or other physical contact. Don’t travel unless necessary. Avoid crowded areas.
While the above precautions may help, you can sometimes get sick even when you’ve done everything to prevent. If you do catch a cold, be sure to seek the care of your doctor early to ensure a faster recovery time.
If everyone works together, we can reduce the negative effects of the cold and flu season.
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