Tips for Avoiding the Flu

No one wants to get sick and avoiding the flu is just plain smart. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that “90 percent of seasonal flu-related deaths and more than 60 percent of seasonal flu-related hospitalizations in the United States each year occur in people 65 years and older.” Because our immune systems weaken with age, the flu can become a serious concern for people 65 and older.

Let’s keep you healthy this season with these tips for avoiding and spreading the flu.

  1. Get a flu shot. This is the single most important thing you can do to prevent getting the flu this year. So please consult your doctor to find out if you are a good candidate for the flu shot.

  2. Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough. This is best done by remembering to cough or sneeze into the crook of your arm. If you have a tissue nearby, you can also use it to cover your mouth and nose. Just remember to throw that tissue away.

  3. Wash your hands often. Just like when you were in school, washing your hands is one of the best ways to stay healthy. This is especially important when you have been in contact with items that others have also touched. Remember to wash your hands after you have been to the grocery store, the senior center, bingo hall, after shaking hands or hugging others.

  4. Carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you. Small, easy to carry hand sanitizers are a great way to freshen up when you can’t quickly get to a bathroom to wash your hands.

  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. This is how cold and flu germs are spread.

  6. Avoid contact with those who are sick. Instead of visiting a friend who isn’t well, send a card or call on the phone to let them know you are concerned.

  7. Use disinfectant wipes around the house. These household wipes will help to keep doorknobs, light switches, remote controls, countertops, faucets, and other frequently touched items germ-free.

  8. If you become sick, stay home. Remember it is important to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever has broken to prevent spreading an illness. This, of course, does not include doctor visits or other essential visits outside the home.

  9. Get enough sleep. Be sure you are sleeping at least 7-8 hours each night. If your body is run down, it won’t have the energy needed to fight off illness.

  10. Eat well and hydrate. Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids will help you to stay well and fight off infection.

Should you become sick this flu season, early treatment is essential. Call your doctor and seek medical attention should you notice any flu-like symptoms. Common symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, sore throat, runny nose, cough, chills, headache, and fatigue.