How Seniors Can Fight the Flu and Stay Healthy This Winter
Many of us can expect to experience illness at some point during the flu season. With the aid of over-the-counter cold and flu medication, most of us can fully recover within a week or two, making flu nothing more than an inconvenience. However, the effects of aging can have a serious impact on the health of seniors, particularly when it comes to the body’s response to common viruses, such as flu.
The effects of flu on senior health shouldn’t be underestimated. While we are all familiar with many of the symptoms of the flu virus, such as headaches, fever, and sinus infection, it is the secondary effects of these symptoms that can be dangerous for seniors. That’s because the aging process can lead to deterioration in the body’s immune system, which can severely restrict its ability to fight off the virus. This can cause bouts of flu to continue for longer, creating the opportunity for potentially life-threatening secondary infections to take hold, such as pneumonia.
Other age-related and long-term health conditions often experienced by seniors can be worsened by the onset of the flu virus. Flu can be particularly dangerous for individuals experiencing conditions of the lungs such as Pulmonary Fibrosis. Certain types of medication commonly taken by seniors can also produce the side effects of lowering the body’s immunity to infection.
So, what can seniors do to prepare for the flu season and stay healthy?
- Get the Flu Shot
When it comes to flu, prevention is always better than cure. The annual flu vaccine program for seniors has been proven to be an effective and simple way of reducing the chances of contracting the flu virus.
- Stay Hydrated
One of the most important things to remember when fighting the flu virus is to stay hydrated. That’s because the symptoms of flu such as nasal drainage and sweating caused by fever use up a lot of the body’s fluids. It is vital to ensure that these fluids are regularly replaced to prevent dehydration.
- Monitor the Symptoms
The health of seniors suffering from flu can deteriorate rapidly, and it’s important to know when it’s time to call the doctor. Underlying health problems such as asthma, heart disease, or emphysema may make a hospital stay necessary to receive appropriate treatment. It is also important to speak to a medical professional if someone is experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pains, or if symptoms do not improve after three to four days.
- Look After Your Body
It’s not always possible to prevent the onset of flu, but there are steps that can be taken to reduce its impact by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle. Regular, gentle exercise and a balanced diet that is rich in Vitamin C can dramatically improve the body’s ability to fight the flu. There’s also a range of vitamins and health supplements available to boost the body’s immunity and help the body to recover from illness more quickly.