The weather grows colder and all of a sudden people are coughing and sneezing all around you, grumbling about being sick. Don't want to join them? There are actually things you can do to win against the germs that cause the flu and common cold.
The key to staying healthy during cold and flu season really depends on two things:
- Keeping your immune system healthy; and
- Limiting exposure to illness-causing bacteria and viruses
Take these 4 Simple Ways for Seniors to Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season to heart:
1. Wash your hands
Use warm water to kill germs when washing hands. Make sure you always use soap (just a rinse of water isn't enough) and work up a nice lather for 15 to 20 seconds. Pay special attention to washing your entire hands — especially between your fingers, and under and around your fingernails. Always dry your hands thoroughly, and consider using a disposable towel to turn off the faucet and open the door to prevent getting germs on your newly-cleaned hands.
Always remember to wash your hands:
- Before eating or touching food
- After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
- After using the restroom
- After visiting anyone who is sick
2. Keep your hands away from your face
This is an important one that you may have to work on for a while. How many times to you rub your eyes or have your fingers in or next to your mouth? Make sure you're conscious about where you absentmindedly put your hands — because they could be making you sick!
Did you know that one of the easiest ways for germs to get into your system and start wreaking havoc is through thin mucus membranes of your eyes, nose and mouth? When you or someone else is sick, you refrain from hugging and touching each other to avoid contact with those germs. But there are still doors to open and phones to answer — and germs like to sit and hang out on those kinds of objects.
That means that when you touch an “infected” object that someone inadvertently left bacteria and virus remnants on, those germs can transfer to your hand. Next thing you know, you get a speck of dust in your eye and you rub it with your fingers — giving a nice way for those germs to transfer into your body. You'll be washing your hands constantly to get rid of germs, but make sure to make it a habit to NOT touch your face as well.
A well-rested body has an easier time fighting off impending infections. Ever notice how sometimes you may feel a little off, like you might be catching a cold, but it never develops? That's when an invader (like bacteria or a virus) tries to take over your body, but your immune system is able to fight that off before you can get sick.
How can you better ensure your immune system is strong enough to fight germs off? By getting enough sleep and rest so your body can devote all of its energy to killing those invaders before they make you feel even worse. Sleep is the key to allowing your body and cells to recharge to full capacity each night. Don't skimp on the amount of quality shut-eye you get; your body really will thank you by building a stronger immune system!
4. Eat right
Another way for your immune system to be at full capacity to fight off germs that cause colds and the flu is to make sure it has all the right tools to do so. In this case, those tools are nutrients — and those nutrients come from a healthy diet. All the vitamins in your diet serve important purposes in being able to fight off infections — so make sure you're loading up on them! In addition, keeping healthy means your body won't be working overtime to protect itself from any other ailments you may have.
Always check with your doctor to make sure you're getting the nutrients you need, and any supplements recommended for you. Take into consideration the impact any medications you're taking have on the absorption of certain nutrients (or anything you may need to avoid when taking certain meds).
If you have trouble with your mobility, call our Hoveround Mobility Specialists today at (800) 542-7236 to find out how we can help you get a power wheelchair or mobility scooter to help you remain aging in place.