It’s time to get geared up, protected, and ready for flu season because it’s here! Being an aging adult makes you vulnerable during the flu season due to your immune system becoming slower to respond as you age. Aging also makes it harder to bounce back from an illness or injury. Therefore, taking all precautions seriously during this time is imperative to minimizing your risk for getting sick and spreading the flu to others.
While the flu vaccination provides the greatest protection against the flu, there are other effective ways to avoid getting or spreading it. Let’s dive into what you can do to protect yourself and stay healthy this flu season with these effective tips:
- Washing your hands frequently with soap and water is the number one most important thing to remember. A common saying is to add soap to your hands and lather your hands while you sing “Happy Birthday” to yourself two times, and then rinse. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
- Stay in shape by eating a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, exercising frequently, and taking the time to relax when your body needs it. This will keep your body running as a well-oiled machine ready to fight off any flu-like germs that try to invade your immune system.
- When coughing or sneezing, try to use the crease of your upper and lower arm as a shield versus using your hands. This helps to prevent spreading germs than if you were to use your hand as a shield, and then touching something with your germ infested hand.
- Stay away from friends, family, and others who may be ill. This will keep you isolated from the actual sickness which decreases your chances of getting sick, too. Although you enjoy their company, it’s important you ask them to refrain from visiting until their symptoms are no longer present.
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Every single cell in your body is made up of water and some of those cells are working overtime to fight off the bug that’s making you ill. Staying properly hydrated by increasing your water intake is essential for cells to function, so you have a speedy recovery. Try to aim for 90-120 ounces of water per day.
- If you feel ill, especially if you have a cough or fever, contact your family and physician. If symptoms are caught soon enough, usually within 48 hours, medication treatments can minimize the severity and length of time the flu hangs around. Don’t wait and think it will get better on its own.
To summarize: If you are not feeling well, stay home, get some rest, drink plenty of fluids, and notify your doctor, especially if your symptoms do not improve or get worse.