As the cooler weather comes around, it is essential to prepare yourself and your loved ones for the cold and flu season. The elderly are particularly vulnerable to getting sick, especially if they have underlying health complications. This fact becomes even more prevalent as in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, where seniors are more susceptible to respiratory illnesses. As caregivers or family members of seniors, it is vital to take preventive measures to ensure their well-being during the cold & flu season.
1. Get a Flu Shot & COVID Booster
One of the most effective ways to prepare seniors for the cold & flu season is to ensure they get a flu shot. Seniors above the age of 65 should ideally get a high-dose flu vaccine, which is designed to help their immune system better fight off the flu virus. It is recommended that seniors get their flu shots early, preferably before the peak flu season, which is between December and February.
Covid boosters are additional doses of a vaccine that aim to strengthen and prolong immunity against the virus. By getting a booster shot, seniors can not only enhance their own protection against Covid-19 but also contribute to the overall efforts in controlling the spread of the virus. This is because a strong immune response in seniors can help prevent them from becoming carriers and potentially transmitting the virus to others.
2. Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene is another crucial preventive measure to keep the flu virus at bay. Seniors should be reminded to wash their hands regularly with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. Make sure they have hand sanitizers at their disposal at all times and have some masks ready for situations where they may be exposed to large crowds.
3. Monitor their Health
Monitor seniors' health for signs of infection. Symptoms of the flu include a high fever, cough, sore throat, fatigue, and body aches. If they experience any of these symptoms, be sure to contact their healthcare provider promptly. Keep a thermometer at hand to check their temperature regularly.
4. Keep the Home Environment Clean
Seniors spend a majority of their time in their homes, so it's essential to keep their home environment clean and free of germs. Encourage seniors or caregivers to maintain a clean home by practicing proper hygiene, timely laundry, and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces such as doorknobs, faucet handles, and light switches.
5. Ensure Proper Nutrition
As we get older, our immune systems become weaker, making it more difficult to fight off infections. A nutritious diet is critically essential for seniors to keep their immune system strong and reduce the risk of infection during the cold & flu season. Encourage seniors to eat a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and plenty of water.
In conclusion, while we cannot completely avoid getting sick during the cold & flu season, we can take preventive measures to ensure our seniors are well protected. We can help seniors by getting vaccinated, practicing good hygiene, monitoring their health, keeping their home environment clean, and maintaining a nutritious diet. By taking these steps, we can help our elderly loved ones stay healthy and minimize their risk of getting sick during the cold & flu season.