Cold and Flu season is well underway, and in 2020, it has a whole new meaning! With COVID-19, we are all hyper aware of our health, and for senior citizens, it is more important than ever. Unfortunately, seniors are more at risk for catching a cold and flu, as our immune system weakens with age.

Prevention is key to staying healthy in your senior years, and there are many ways to prevent catching the flu or cold this season. In this post, we will provide 4 helpful tips for preventing the cold and flu this season.

1. Wash your hands thoroughly (and frequently!)

This is common, and probably not the first time you have heard this advice! However, aside from receiving the flu vaccine, this is the number one tip for cold and flu prevention, so it is important to remember. Germs can be passed on through commonly touched surfaces, such as handrails and door handles. Washing your hands thoroughly and frequently can prevent you from getting sick.

A good handwashing takes at least 20 seconds to be effective. Ensure to clean the wrists, front and back of your hands, nails, and in between your fingers using plenty of soap. When handwashing is not accessible, use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol between washings. Most public spaces are well-equipped with ample supplies of hand sanitizer readily available to keep the community healthy during cold and flu season.

2. Eat a healthy, balanced diet

Healthy eating is important for immune system function. There are studies that demonstrate that sufficient quantities of vitamin C in one’s diet can reduce the risk of getting sick. Incorporating lots of healthy fruits and vegetables into your diet will support your immune system. A diet high in protein is also a great way to improve your immune response. Balanced meals full of protein and vegetables will provide your body with the nutrients it needs to ward off contagious illnesses like the cold and flu and make recovery times faster if one comes down sick.

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth

Germs typically enter the body through our eyes, nose, and mouth. Touching a surface with your hands and then touching your face can transmit bacteria and viruses and increase the likelihood of falling ill. It’s always a good habit to avoid touching your face unless your hands have been thoroughly washed.

4. Drink plenty of fluids

Staying hydrated can help support your body in fighting off illnesses such as the cold and flu. Drinking water frequently throughout the day or enjoying a hot cup of caffeine-free tea can keep you hydrated and healthy during cold and flu season.

As a senior, it is incredibly important to keep your body strong. Finding ways to support your immune system while reducing the transmission of viruses will keep you feeling great this season.