Flu and Cold Prevention: 5 Things Seniors and Caregivers Should Know
Did you know that the 2017-2018 flu season was the longest in the past decade? During this time, 42,303 Americans tested positive for the flu. Seniors have an increased risk of contracting the flu or a cold.
If you are a senior or care for a senior, it’s important that you take steps toward flu and cold prevention. Keep reading to learn how to decrease your risk of contracting these illnesses.
What Causes the Flu and Colds?
Colds and the flu are both respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. Often the flu symptoms are worse than a cold. Colds rarely lead to more serious illnesses.
Yet, flu, which is caused by the influenza virus, can cause serious health problems. For example, it can lead to pneumonia and bacterial infections. This may necessitate admission to the hospital.
Flu and Cold Prevention Strategies for Seniors
It’s imperative that seniors protect themselves from getting the flu or a cold. In those who are more physically fragile, these common ailments can lead to more serious problems.
If the senior is receiving home health services, they can help with personal care, housekeeping, skilled nursing care, and therapy.
The following describes 5 ways to prevent cold and flu.
1. Get the Flu Vaccine
Having a flu shot every year builds your immune response to the influenza virus. This helps to reduce your risk of contracting the flu. It also protects against the complications caused by the flu.
2. Wash Your Hands
Frequent hand washing with regular soap gets rid of cold and flu viruses. In fact, this is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of these illnesses. Be sure to rub all parts of your hands together for at least 20 seconds and then rinse under running water.
If you don’t have ready access to soap and water, use hand sanitizer to kill the germs.
3. Don’t Touch Your Face
The cold is most commonly spread through coughing, sneezing, and exposure to mouth and nasal secretions. Thus, it’s important to cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow.
This keeps the germs off your hands. Also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
4. Practice Wellness
Wellness involves personal activities that boost your immune system and decrease your risk of getting sick. Regular exercise is one important component of wellness. You also need to eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids.
Getting plenty of rest and decreasing stress helps your immune system work more effectively. Maintain a clean environment to decrease your germ exposure.
5. Stay Away from Sick People
Try to limit your exposure to large crowds. If someone is sick, try to stay away from them. If this isn’t possible, avoid any unnecessary touching such as hugging or shaking hands.
Are You Protecting the Seniors Around You from Cold and Flu?
Health prevention is always the best strategy. If you are a senior or care for a senior, it’s important that you follow the strategies discussed in this article for cold prevention.
At Elite Home Health Care, providing the best care possible is our goal. We employ skilled, experienced, and friendly care providers. Each person’s plan of care is tailored to meet their needs.
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