We are in the throes of the cold and flu season, and protecting yourself from the flu is a solid plan to stay healthy this winter. Aside from the 2020-2021 anomalous flu season, trends in recent years have shown an increasing number of flu deaths in adults age 65 and over. Just a small amount of flu virus exposure can lead to symptoms fast – if you’ve ever felt like you were hit with a ton of bricks when coming down with the flu, you know the feeling. This virus hits you fast!
Before we talk about preparation for this year’s flu season, it’s important to remember that antibiotics won't cure or prevent the flu. Asking your doctor for an antibiotic prescription won’t protect you from the flu, and over-prescription of antibiotics can actually render those antibiotics less effective if you do end up with an infection (the flu is a virus, not a bacterial infection, which requires antibiotics).
Three simple ways to prepare for the flu season
If you haven’t prepared already, these three tips can help you be especially prepared to prevent or fend off severe flu complications this flu season (and in future flu seasons as well):
1. Get your flu shot
Although there are several strains of the flu in circulation each year and the flu shot doesn’t completely eliminate your risk of catching all those strains, it has been shown to reduce the likelihood of severe outcomes, regardless of the flu strain you may “catch.” That’s why doctors recommend everyone who is eligible – especially seniors – get their flu shot each year.
And it’s not too late to get your shot, even if the holidays are already in the past. You can get your flu shot at the doctor’s office, or at many local pharmacies.
2. Stock up on preventative cleaning essentials
From antibacterial soap to disinfectant wipe and spray, make sure your house is stocked with the hygiene essentials that come in handy during cold and flu season. That way, if a sick loved one stops by and you want to avoid getting sick, you can take extra steps to wipe door knobs, surfaces, etc.
3. Pick up some vitamins, supplements, and treatments
Be sure to talk to your doctor first, but you may also want to stock up on vitamins and supplements that have been shown to boost your immune system like zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D, among others. We can’t stress this enough – be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any new vitamins or supplements to ensure that they are safe for you!
While these elements can help with prevention, you may also want to have some flu treatments on hand in case you do become sick. Although a flu prescription may be given by your doctor if he or she believes it’s the right choice for you, at a minimum, over-the-counter flu medicines can help to alleviate some symptoms and make your flu symptoms less burdensome while your body works to defeat the virus. Staples like cough medicine, fever reducers, or all-in-one flu medicines can really come in handy. In addition, crackers, ginger ale, and other clear liquids are some good staples to have in the cupboard if you do end up getting sick.
4. Practice good daily hygiene
Washing your hands when coming in from a trip to the store is a smart move to ensure you aren’t touching surfaces in your home after going out during the flu season. Be sure to wash for at least 20 seconds (TIP: Singing “Happy Birthday” twice should do it).
While thinking about the store, be sure to take advantage of those “cart wipes” you often see by the entrance. They can help take off germs that may have been left by previous customers. You may want to keep hand sanitizer in your car or purse if you don’t have access to wipes while in the store, or to sanitize your hands between stores/stops.
Your wellness is our priority at Veranda of Pensacola
Our healthcare coordinator is dedicated to helping you live your happiest and healthiest life as a resident here. And our health and wellness services give you and your loved ones peace of mind in case you do get sick or need medical assistance. Our resort-style senior community has all the amenities, activities, and services you need to enjoy your retirement. Contact us today to learn more.