Flu season is quickly approaching, which means it’s time to take precautionary steps to protect our health. For seniors in particular, the flu poses a significant risk. This nasty bug can cause seniors to develop pneumonia or dehydration, and can even worsen chronic existing medical conditions, including asthma, emphysema, and heart disease.
The best thing older adults – and all of us! – can do to fight off the flu is get vaccinated. Flu viruses are always changing, so it’s important to get the shot every year to protect yourself against new strains of the virus. Know that it can take up to two weeks following the shot to develop immunity. So if you come down with the flu within that two-week period, it means the virus was already in your system. A lot of people don’t know that you can’t actually get the flu from the shot because it does not contain any live influenza virus.
Receiving the flu shot each year is just as critical for healthcare workers and anyone else in regular close contact with seniors. Many healthcare workers travel to many different locations for work, which means they can carry the flu virus to a lot of places, impacting many residents, patients, staff members and their own families. At Castle Country, we will offer flu shots for our staff members, residents and family members this month to promote the health and wellbeing of everyone in our community. If you or a loved one lives at one of our houses, we encourage you to attend. Find details on our community calendar.
Fortunately, vaccines are now widely administered, with most local pharmacies providing them. We encourage you to visit your local pharmacy to receive your immunization and protect yourself from the flu. In the meantime, here are other ways you can protect your health:
- Eat flu-fighting food. Garlic can kill flu-causing viruses and yogurt can increase your resistance to germs. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables containing vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, peppers, tomatoes and broccoli.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Water and green tea in particular have a powerful antiviral effect on the influenza virus.
- Wash your hands often to protect yourself from germs.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Otherwise, you could get sick if you do so after touching something with germs.
- Get plenty of rest! Sleep deprivation can weaken your immune system.