Across the United States, cold season typically runs from September through early April. Colder weather, drier air and more time spent indoors around other people can cause colds and influenza to spread easily. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that seniors get flu shots as early as October.
There is good news for older Americans this year. A recent study discovered that a new flu vaccine called Fluzone High-Dose, is nearly 25 percent more effective than the standard version of the vaccine in preventing the flu in the 65 and older age group.
The study brings welcome news, but seniors still need to stay vigilant about protecting themselves. A strain of the flu or a common cold can still strike a senior with a weaker immune system.
Here are three ways for older Americans to stay healthy this cold season:
A diet filled with wholesome foods is a must for staying healthy during cold season. Go to your local farmers market and stock up on nutrient rich fruits and vegetables. Look for produce that is packed with Vitamin C such as oranges, yellow and red peppers, berries and dark green leafy vegetables.
You’ll also want to eat plenty of whole grains. These complex carbohydrates are full of key vitamins and minerals. They are also low in fat and have been linked to a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems.
Stay Home When You Can
Coming into close contact with other people is the primary way the flu or a cold is transmitted. Avoid people who are ill by staying home. If you must be around others, give people their space. A lot of germs can be transferred from person to person just by breathing close to one another.
Of course, if you do get ill, you should stay home. You can pass germs to others if you are still contagious. And don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.
Be Mindful of Cold Medications
Over-the-counter cold medications can offer relief from unpleasant symptoms if you do get sick. However, they must be taken with care. Read through the entire label of the medication before you purchase it. If you have questions about anything on the label, visit the pharmacy in your local drug or grocery store. Look for warnings regarding reactions the cold medication may have with any prescription medications you take.
If you have any type of heart problem or high blood pressure, there are specific cold medications you should take. Always ask your primary care physician before you take any cold medication.
These preventative actions will help you stay as healthy as possible through the long cold season, ensuring that you have more time and energy to spend with your family and friends.
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