Flu season is almost upon us and it’s never too early to prepare. Older adults are among those at the highest risk of contracting the virus due to their weaker immune systems. That being said, residing in a senior living community and sharing your space can even further heighten the risk of you getting the flu. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to prevent getting sick that are important to start implementing now before the start of flu season.
Get a flu shot. Getting a flu shot is a necessity for older adults. Not only does the shot help protect you from getting the virus, but it helps reduce the severity of the illness and complications that can go along with it if you do get the flu. The best time to get a flu shot is from October to November but doctors say that it is still helpful to get one even after that window of time.
Keep your environment clean. Make an effort to disinfect your home daily. Wipe down counters, doorknobs, light switches, handrails, telephones – the things you touch most during your day. Wash hand towels, rags, and sponges on a more frequent basis and be sure to wash your hands after touching things in communal spaces.
Wash your hands. This is the #1 thing to remember during flu season. Washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to eliminate germs. Be generous with how often you wash your hands. When washing be sure to rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds and get under the nails, back of hands, between fingers and wrists. For those that may have a hard time getting up and down frequently, have hand sanitizer available. Be sure to wash or sanitize after spending time in communal areas, before eating, after coughing or sneezing, and before touching your face, eyes or mouth.
Avoid people who are sick. It can be hard to avoid someone who is sick, especially in a living community where most meals and activities are done in public areas. During flu season, just to be safe, avoid direct contact via hugs and handshakes. And on the reverse end, if you are the one who is sick make sure to stay away from other people to avoid spreading your germs.
Exercise regularly. Exercising on a consistent basis helps build the immune system and can actually help you avoid getting sick. It can be hard during the winter months to remain active, but senior living communities like Collington offer exercise classes, indoor pools, and walking trails so you are sure to find something to keep your body moving.
These very simple steps don’t take much effort but can have a big impact on your health. Keep them in mind all flu season long and share the tips with your friends and family to keep them flu free too!
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