I had the flu last year, and it took me weeks to recover. With flu season approaching, I want to do everything I can to stay healthy. How does the flu shot work, and what are some other ways I can protect myself?
As an older adult, I know I’m at higher risk for contracting the virus.
Staying Healthy during Flu Season
By now, most seniors know a flu shot is the most effective way to avoid the flu. A flu shot works by introducing your body to just enough of the virus to trigger an immune response.
There are two flu shots specially designed for seniors. They differ from other versions because they provoke a stronger immune response. While a flu shot is the best way for seniors to protect themselves from the flu, it isn’t the only method. There are other best practices you can use to stay healthy.
How Seniors Can Avoid Catching the Flu
1. Wash your hands frequently.
If you handle something with the virus and then touch your nose or mouth, you can catch the flu. Because the flu is very contagious, you also risk spreading it to others. Frequently washing your hands with soap and running water is an effective way to reduce both your risk of catching the flu and circulating germs to others.
2. Eat healthy.
Eating a healthy diet is another effective way to avoid the flu. By consuming foods rich in vitamins and micronutrients, you can strengthen your immune system. This helps your body fight off the flu or, at the very least, recover faster. Here are a few foods to include in your diet:
- Salmon: Salmon is rich in vitamin D, which is particularly effective at preventing many respiratory infections, including the flu.
- Blueberries: Blueberries contain flavonoids, which support a healthy immune response by working with gut microbes.
- Lemons: Lemons are high in vitamin C, which strengthens the body’s resistance to viruses.
3. Get enough sleep.
Sleep is crucial for a strong immune system. Not sleeping enough has been shown to weaken the immune system. Chronic sleep deprivation can even make a person more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Seniors can reduce their risk of contracting the flu by improving their sleep. Aim for at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
4. Reduce stress.
Stress can weaken the immune system in many ways, particularly when it comes to chronic stress. It can inhibit your digestive system, raise your blood pressure, and increase your cholesterol levels. Prioritize keeping your stress levels to a minimum. The following activities can help:
- Regular exercise
- Taking time to relax
Stay Healthy This Season
Being sick is never fun, but the flu can have lasting effects on a senior’s health. The best way to stay healthy is to avoid contracting the flu in the first place. By receiving a flu shot, steering clear from germs, and taking care of your overall health, you have the best chance at preventing the flu.
I hope this helps you stay healthy this flu season!
Heritage Senior Communities Supports Senior Health
At Heritage Senior Communities, we understand how important it is for seniors to stay healthy. That’s why we make flu shots available to our residents. To learn more about how we help our residents stay healthy, contact us today to schedule a private tour.