With flu season upon us, the threat of getting sick is looming. Unfortunately, for older individuals, seasonal illnesses can lead to more serious issues. While a cold or flu might seem minor, the risk of complications makes these viral infections far more menacing. That’s why it’s important to stay healthy – and that means taking care of yourself. Here are a few tips to make the winter months safer.
1. Get your flu shot.
If you haven’t gotten one already, it’s highly recommended that you do so. While almost no one likes being poked with a needle, one little prick could save your life. If you’re over 65, you may even be able to get a high-dose vaccine. This often provides a superior immune response in seniors. Additionally, there are two vaccines that can prevent pneumonia as well.
2. Eat healthy, hearty foods.
While it may be more convenient to eat processed foods, they often aren’t good for your immune health. (That goes for sugary foods, too.) Make sure you’re getting plenty of vitamin-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet. Leafy greens are especially good for boosting your immune system as well.
3. Stay active.
Even if you only exercise for just 15 minutes a day, it’s important to keep your activity levels up. Regular exercise is important for people of all ages, especially seniors.
4. Get plenty of rest.
Ideally, you should be getting around 8 hours of sleep a night, or whatever makes you feel fully rested. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll become far more vulnerable to cold weather bugs.
5. Be calm.
This time of year, it’s especially important to keep stress levels to a minimum. While it’s often easy for us to fret about the holidays, it’s not good for our health. Being stressed can make you more susceptible to illness.
6. Drink lots of water.
Staying hydrated is just as important in cold weather as it is when it’s hot out. Make sure you’re consuming a healthy amount of water every day to stay in optimal health.
7. Keep bugs at bay.
Make sure to wash your hands regularly, especially after touching various surfaces in public places. Handrails, door pulls, and shopping carts can all harbor nasty germs. The last thing you want to do is to accidentally transfer bacteria to yourself.
8. Feel like you’re getting sick anyway?
Sometimes it’s inevitable. If you feel like you might be getting sick, here are some things you can do to help yourself recover. Eliminate dairy products, sugar, alcohol, and grains from your diet. Take a Vitamin C booster with bioflavonoids and increase your Zinc intake. Drink lots more water and get plenty of rest. Additionally, you might want to try some herbal teas and supplements. Echinacea, Grapefruit Seed Extract, and Goldenseal are often good supplements to incorporate in your regimen.