10 CORONAVIRUS AND FLU PREVENTION TIPS FOR SENIORS AND CAREGIVERS
Seniors and caregivers are most vulnerable to the coronavirus and flu. While social distancing is important there are a few more precautions you can take to prevent illness. Unfortunately, seniors and caregivers are two of the most likely groups of people to get sick.
Older adults have weaker immune systems and so do most caregivers (due to lack of sleep and chronic stress). And because you spend a lot of time together, you’re more likely to pass germs back and forth.
Even so, there’s still a lot that you can do to reduce the chances that you or your older adult will get sick and to reduce the length or severity of an illness. Basically, the goal is to boost the immune system and reduce exposure to germs.
We share 10 tips for avoiding the coronavirus and flu and in case you or your older adult gets sick. These tips prevent serious flu complications and ease symptoms.
TIPS FOR EASING YOUR COLD/FLU SYMPTOMS THIS SEASON.
- Rest or sleep at a 45 degree angle Lying down causes mucous to gather in sinus cavities, which is unpleasant and could also lead to further infection. Resting or sleeping at an angle helps prevent this and also reduces inflammation.
- Drink extra liquids Extra fluids help thin out the mucous and makes it easier to get it out of your system.
- Use a humidifier Moist air helps soothe sore throats and hacking coughs.
10 COLD AND FLU PREVENTION TIPS REDUCE RISK FOR SENIORS AND CAREGIVERS
1. GET THE FLU VACCINE
Getting a flu shot reduces the risk of getting the flu. It also reduces the severity of the illness and protects against complications – both especially important for seniors.. And when you get a flu shot, you reduce the risk that you’ll get sick and infect your older adult.
2. WASH OR SANITIZE HANDS THOROUGHLY AND OFTEN
Frequently hand washing with regular soap is an effective way to get rid of cold and flu germs. Using regular soap is fine because rubbing the hands together for at least 20 seconds is what eliminates germs – long enough to sing the Happy Birthday song twice. Make sure to clean under the nails, backs of hands, between fingers, and wrists.
3. EXERCISE REGULARLY
Moderate exercise boosts the immune system and could reduce risk of a cold by a third. Even though caregiving doesn’t leave a lot of time for exercise and older adults may not have a lot of endurance, any amount of regular exercise will benefit the body and immune system.
4. AVOID TOUCHING THE EYES, NOSE, AND MOUTH
We often touch our faces without thinking, which is a common way for cold and flu germs to enter the body. To reduce the risk of getting sick, minimize touching of the face.
5. CLEAN THE ENVIRONMENT TO ELIMINATE GERMS
Try to keep the environment as germ-free as possible. That means using disinfectant when cleaning, especially in the bathroom and kitchen. When cleaning, pay special attention to germ hot spots like doorknobs, light switches, and kitchen and bathroom counters.
6. SANITIZE YOUR MOBILE DEVICES
Something that many people forget is how dirty and germ-filled their mobile device is. Clean it regularly with sanitizing wipes or rubbing alcohol – being careful not to wet the electronics.
7. STAY AWAY FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE SICK
It might sound obvious, but it’s worth repeating: keep your distance from people who are sick. If you need to be around a sick person, limit your contact and avoid unnecessary touching like shaking hands or hugging.
8. AVOID CROWDS AND UNNECESSARY TRAVEL
Try to avoid being in large groups of people, especially in poorly-ventilated spaces. That increases the chance of catching a cold or flu from an infected person.
9. DRINK PLENTY OF LIQUIDS
Drinking plenty of liquids, especially plain water or hot tea, helps the nasal passages stay moist and trap germs before they can spread into the body.
10. GET ADDED VITAMIN C AND PROTEIN
Some studies have shown that a little extra Vitamin C (but not too much) can reduce the risk of getting sick.
It’s best to get it through food, but a 200 mg supplement also works. But first, check with the doctor to be sure that the supplement would be safe for your older adult. Not getting enough protein can also lower the immune response, so try to add fish, eggs, or yogurt to your and your older adult’s diets