As we transition into fall and winter, it’s the perfect time to take inventory of our health. Cooler weather and the impending holiday season brings with it annual flu shot reminders. Older adults with compromised immunity are particularly susceptible, especially with the grandkids back in school, and a busier social calendar.
Seniors with existing respiratory illnesses such as asthma, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), must take special precautions to lower their risk of contracting the flu, or pneumonia. Also taking medications such as corticosteroids for autoimmune disorders can lessen the body’s ability to fight off illness and infection.
Hygiene is key in preventing the spread of viruses. Wash your hands after touching doorknobs, shopping cart handles or any other publicly shared surfaces. Also, avoid putting your hands near your mouth or eyes, and keep hand sanitizer nearby if running water isn’t available. Most stores and pharmacies carry travel sized sanitizer and wet wipes for on the go cleaning. Keep in mind that hand sanitizer is alcohol based and effective for killing bacteria, so you need good old soap and water to wash away the virus germs.
Get plenty of sleep, and reduce stress. Not getting enough rest sends your adrenal glands into survival mode, leaving the body more vulnerable to illness. Frantic holiday time with all of its obligations often leaves us depleted, so make a priority of making time for yourself. These are some of the aspects of your immune system recovery plan!
Eat plenty of fruits, and vegetables. Vitamin C rich foods such as red peppers, citrus, and cruciferous vegetables, are packed with immune-boosting benefits. Elderly adults often don’t get enough of these nutrients, so taking a supplement is the next best thing to ensure your daily requirement is met.
Ask your doctor if getting flu or pneumonia shot is right for you. Medicare and most commercial health plans consider these vaccines a preventative benefit and cover the cost without being subject to a deductible.