You’ll likely acquire the flu this season if you don’t make an effort to avoid it.
For the most part, this entails a couple of weeks off work or school, followed by a return to normalcy. However, if you have a health problem such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or a compromised immune system, the flu can be devastating, even fatal.
The key is to avoid being ill in the first place. Here are some tried and true methods for avoiding the seasonal flu.
Wash your Hands
Handwashing with normal soap daily is an excellent technique to eliminate cold and flu viruses.
Regular soap is OK since rubbing hands together for at least 20 seconds (long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice) is what kills germs. Take care to clean under your nails, the backs of your hands, the spaces between your fingers, and your wrists.
If you don’t have access to soap and water regularly, use a hand sanitizer that has at least 60% alcohol to destroy cold and flu viruses. For older adults who might find it difficult to get up to wash their hands, this may be a viable solution.
Moderate-intensity exercise can also strengthen your immune system and reduce your risk of catching a cold by a third. Exercises such as running or cardio do not take much time and older people may not have much stamina, but regular exercise benefits the body and immune system, by having a strong immune system we are less susceptible to catching the seasonal flu.
Build a Germ-Free Environment
Use disinfectants when cleaning, especially in bathrooms and kitchens. Pay special attention to spots such as light switches, door handles, kitchen tabletops, and bathrooms when you are cleaning. Remember to disinfect sponges and wipes (a thriving hotspot for germs) by soaking them in bleach and changing them often, or putting them in the dishwasher. In outdoor areas, washing your hands after touching possible nasty spots is also another way to prevent catching bacteria on your hands.
Increase your Vitamin C Intake
Studies have shown that a little Vitamin C can reduce the risk of catching the flu. It’s best to get it through food, but supplements can also help. But first, check with your doctor to make sure the supplement will be safe for you. Not getting enough protein can also decrease the immune response, so try adding chicken, eggs, or milk to your diet. Diet is especially important to our immune system as well which helps in preventing the body from getting sick
The flu vaccine also helps reduce your risk of getting the flu. It also reduces disease severity and protects against complications – two aspects that are especially important for older adults. And when you get a flu shot, you reduce your risk of getting sick and infecting other people. The best time to get a flu shot is between October and November, but experts say a flu shot is still helpful even later in the flu season.