Cold and Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors and Caregivers

The cold and flu season is here again. Unfortunately, seniors and their caregivers have a very high chance of becoming ill.

Senior citizens tend to have weaker immune systems. Furthermore, on the grounds that a senior and their caregivers are very close, they’re bound to share illnesses.

All things considered, there are several things you can do to decrease the odds that you or your senior will become ill. Essentially, the objective is to support the immune system and diminish introduction to germs.

Here are 8 of our best tips for avoiding cold and the flu this season.

1. Wash or disinfect your hands frequently

As often as possible washing hands with a regular soft soap or antibacterial soap is an effective method to fight against the spread of cold and flu germs. Make sure to clean under the nails, backs of hands, and between your fingers, all the way up to your wrists.

On the occasions you don’t have access to soap and water, make sure you have hand sanitizer on hand. This may also be a convenient alternative for seniors with limited mobility.

2. Keep a clean house

We’re all busy this time of year, but attempting to keep a clean house and sanitizing surfaces is an effective way to prevent the spread of cold and flu viruses. Utilize disinfectant products when cleaning, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms.

Don’t forget to sanitize your doorknobs, light switches, and kitchen and restroom counters.

One thing that is also overlooked is sterilizing cleaning wipes and clothes when you are done cleaning.  They can be a breeding ground for germs that can make you and your senior sick.

3. Disinfect your cell phones

Our cells phones have become such a part of everyday life, that we often don’t realize how often we touch these devices.  Therefore, they tend to be one of the dirtiest things we touch every day.

Sanitizing your cell phone may just keep you from catching the flu this year.  Simply clean with a sanitizing wipe or rubbing alcohol, but be careful to not get your phone too wet as many phones are still not yet waterproof.

4. Avoid individuals who seem fatigued or ill

This can go without saying, but we’re going to say it anyway…. if someone seems run down or feeling ill, stay away!  This goes for both the caregiver and the senior.

In situations where you don’t have a choice and have to be around someone that may be ill, keep your distance and limit contact such as shaking hands or embracing.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

We regularly touch our faces without even thinking, which is a typical path for cold and flu viruses to enter the body. To decrease the risk of becoming ill, try to be more conscious of when you touch your eyes, nose, and mouth.

6. Drink a lot of fluids

Drinking a lot of fluids, particularly filtered water or hot tea, enables the nasal passages (one of your body’s first lines of defense) to stay moist and trap germs before they can enter the body.

7. Add Vitamin C and Vitamin D to your daily regiment

Several studies have found that some Vitamin C and Vitamin D can decrease your risk of coming down with a cold or flu by boosting your immune system.

8. Exercise frequently

Moderate exercise supports the immune system and could decrease the risk of catching a cold.

If you are a caregiver, you may not have that much free time to exercise, and your senior may not have the endurance they once did, but don’t let that stop you.  Any measure of exercise will in any case give your immune systems an extra boost.

If you are a caregiver and are trying to keep both you and your loved one well this cold and flu season, please give these tips a try.  They are both simple and effective if utilized regularly.

In the chance you do become ill and need help caring for your senior, please do not hesitate to give Nurses Guild a call.  We can provide care to your senior while you rest and recover.