Cold is in the air, and on your hands and on whatever you touch. In 2017-2018 the flu season was considered a high severity season. It caused high levels of outpatient clinic and emergency room visits for influenza-like illnesses. Cold and flu season takes a huge toll on youngest and elderly patients.
Soap and Water Works
So, how do you prevent or fight these unseen germs? Since December 2-8 is National Handwashing Awareness Week, I would consider washing hands effective in the fight against germs and to prevent infections. It has been established that the most common modes of transmission of pathogens is via hands. Therefore hand hygiene remains the most important infection prevention measure. Make sure to use plain soap rubbing your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Clean under the nails, backs of hands and between fingers. Sounds like an easy defense to me.
To help reduce the risk for young, seniors and caregivers getting the flu shot can also protect your seniors against secondary complications. Prepare to try to get it early in flu season but it is useful even if the season has progressed.
Of course moderate exercise plays into this also because it boosts the immune system and can reduce the cold risk by a third. It is noted that caregiving doesn’t leave a whole lot of time for exercise. Some older adults may not have a lot of endurance but any amount of regular exercise will still benefit the body and immune system.
Another tried and true method is to keep the environment as germ free as possible. Disinfect the bathroom and kitchen. Pay special attention to germ hot spots like door knobs, countertops and light switches. Make sure to disinfect cleaning sponges, changing them often, microwaving for one minute or running them through a dishwasher. And remember to sanitize your mobile devices, that’s something people forget. Clean them with sanitizing wipes or alcohol.
Stay a Distance Away
It sounds particularly obvious, but attempt staying away from people who are sick. Just keep a distance. Avoid being in large groups of people, especially in poorly ventilated areas. That decreases your risk of catching any germs. And another easy method is to drink 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.
Cold With a ‘C’
Try to get enough Vitamin C and protein through nutritious foods. Studies have shown that a little extra Vitamin C can reduce the risk of getting sick. Its easy enough to get it through food, but a 200 mg supplement also works. Check with your doctor to be sure that supplement would be safe for your older adult. Eating less protein can also lower the immune response, so try to add fish, eggs, or yogurt to your older adult’s diets.
And if by chance all of the above have not kept that cold or flu at bay we are here to assist you. GoldLeaf Care provides non-medical services. So we can help you recover quicker by keeping your home clean, doing grocery shopping and meal prep. Providing these services should get you on the path to health lots quicker.