Staying healthy through the winter months can be challenging, especially for seniors with compromised immune systems and face a higher chance of getting sick. Here are some tips for yourself or your loved ones to prevent threatening flu symptoms and stop the spread of germs.
1. Get the flu vaccine.
- As we age, we are at a higher risk of complications from the flu and seniors over the age of 65 are especially at risk. The best time to get your flu shot is October through November, however, it is still useful even if you get it later in the season. What is more, the vaccine is free for seniors in BC!
2. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that are frequently touched.
- Maintaining a germ free environment minimizes the spread of germs. Pay close attention to your bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen as these rooms become breeding grounds for harmful bacteria. Try using an antibacterial cleaner for key spots in your home such as countertops, keyboards, door handles, light switches, remotes, and mobility aids.
3. Encourage your loved ones to stay home if they are sick.
- This may seem like an obvious statement but few people realize that the flu can spread from one person to another as far as 6 feet away. If you need to be in contact with a loved one while they are sick, avoid touching and unnecessary contact.
4. Do not use sponges for cleaning.
- Try using microfibre clothes or disposable paper towel for cleaning your home. If you prefer to clean with a sponge, make sure it is properly disinfected at least once a day. You can do this by soaking it in bleach, putting it in the microwave for 1 minute, or running it through the dishwasher.
5. Wash your hands frequently.
- If you want to minimize your risk of catching a bug, wash your hands with soap and water as hot as you can handle. Wash for at least 20 seconds or the time it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
6. Incorporate foods that support your immune system.
- Chia seeds are rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants, fibre, and protein.
- Walnuts act as an anti-inflammatory and are filled with vitamin B6, vitamin E, and copper.
- Fish contains a high content of omega-3 fatty acids and anti-inflammatory antioxidants.
- Garlic contains allicin, an antioxidant. It works best when eaten raw but is also available in extract capsules.
- Citrus fruits are high in vitamin C and useful to ease early flu symptoms.