10 cold and flu prevention tips reduce risk for seniors
- Get the flu vaccine
Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu. It also reduces the severity of the illness and protects against complications – both especially important
- Wash or sanitize hands thoroughly and often
Frequently washing hands with regular soap is an effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. Use hand sanitizer to kill cold and flu germs. This may be a good option for older adults who can’t easily get up to wash their hands.
- Exercise regularly
Moderate exercise boosts the immune system and could reduce risk of a cold by a third. Any amount of regular exercise will still benefit the body and immune system.
- Avoid touching the eyes, nose, and mouth
We often touch our faces without thinking, which is a common way for cold and flu germs to enter the body. To reduce the risk of getting sick, minimize touching of the face.
- Clean the environment to eliminate germs
Try to keep the environment as germ-free as possible. That means using disinfectant when cleaning, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. When cleaning, pay special attention to germ hot spots like doorknobs, light switches, and kitchen and bathroom counters.
- Sanitize your mobile devices
Something that many people forget is how dirty and germ-filled their mobile device is. Clean it regularly with sanitizing wipes or rubbing alcohol – being careful not to wet the electronics.
- Stay away from people who are sick
It might sound obvious, but it’s worth repeating: keep your distance from people who are sick.
- Avoid crowds and unnecessary travel
Try to avoid being in large groups of people, especially in poorly-ventilated spaces. That increases the chance of catching a cold or flu from an infected person.
- Drink plenty of liquids
Drinking plenty of liquids, especially plain water or hot tea, helps the nasal passages stay moist and trap germs before they can spread into the body.
- Get added Vitamin C and protein through nutritious foods
Some studies have shown that a little extra Vitamin C (but not too much) can reduce the risk of getting sick. Not getting enough protein can also lower the immune response, so try to add fish, eggs, or yogurt to you and your older adult’s diets.
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