Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors

Flu season has come early this year according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and while anyone can catch the flu, people over age 65 are at higher risk. This is the earliest flu season since 2003-2004, and the primary strain circulating is said to make people sicker than other types. With more than half of flu-related hospitalizations linked to people age 65 and over, it’s necessary for this age group to recognize the importance of flu prevention.

There are a number of preventative measures seniors can take to avoid getting the flu.

Get a flu shot and consider a high-dose vaccine. Because the immune system weakens with age, seniors are more prone to getting the flu. Strains circulating are constantly changing and the vaccine is updated annually to protect against new strains, so it’s important to get a flu shot every year. The high-dose flu vaccine is another option available to adults over the age of 65. This vaccine contains four times the amount of antigen (the part of the vaccine that causes the body to produce antibody) and is intended to create a stronger immune response.

Prevent germs from spreading. One of the most important ways to prevent the spread of infection and illness is to keep your hands clean. Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand cleanser, especially after you sneeze or cough. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. If no tissues are available, cough into your sleeve or elbow, not your hands. Make sure you avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to prevent germs from spreading as well.

Limit close contact with others. Pay attention to reports from your local public health department, especially when it pertains to avoiding crowds and other preventative measures to help reduce flu transmission. Following directions from these reports will decrease your exposure to those with the flu as best as possible. If you do fall ill, the CDC recommends that anyone who contracts the flu stay home and limit contact with others to help keep the flu from spreading.

Practice healthy habits. Practicing other healthy habits can help reduce the likeliness of getting the flu. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, are physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat a well-balanced diet. These habits will not only help prevent the flu, but will also contribute to your overall health.


Source: http://agingabundantly.com/2013/01/04/flu-prevention-tips-for-seniors/

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