If you’re over the age of 65, fighting off the flu becomes more difficult. The immune system naturally starts to weaken as we age, opening a wider doorway for the flu virus to sneak in and leave you out of commission for weeks or worse. Don’t underestimate the flu’s strength. Especially since the virus has the potential to mutate, it’s more important than ever to safeguard our health in order to prevent illness.

Untitled design (3)Get Vaccinated

There is an opinion about vaccination out there from every angle. The reality is that the flu vaccine has been proven effective at removing a significant portion of the threat. It is more important for seniors to get vaccinated every year for personal protection and to prevent the spread of illness within your family.

Talk to your doctor about vaccination options and heed his or her advice. There are two flu vaccines available to senior citizens. One has been developed at a higher dose specifically to protect those over the age of 65. Most insurance plans and all Medicare plans cover the cost of being vaccinated from the flu once a year.

Avoid Close Contact with Illness

As much as possible, avoid close contact with sick people. Even a slight cough or sniffle can lead to the flu. Keep hand sanitizer nearby when you are able, and take advantage of the sanitation stations at restaurants, retail stores, and doctors’ offices.

It is common, particularly, for older women to be inclined to remain in a caretaking role for ill family members. If you are taking food to a sick family member or live nearby, protect yourself by wearing a mask and washing your hands frequently. As much as you might like to believe it, years of caretaking doesn’t necessarily mean you are immune to illness.

Wash Your Hands

Everything you touch has germs on it, and washing your hands is one of the simplest ways to combat germs. To be the most effective, you have to wash your hands correctly. Use warm water and a soap of your choice (it doesn’t have to be antibacterial), and lather your hands. Make sure your remember to get near and under your fingernails. After 10–15 seconds of scrubbing with soap, rinse and dry your hands. It’s as easy as that.

Ventilate Well

Many people get the flu because their homes aren’t properly ventilated. Have your ventilation professionally checked before flu season hits. After that, be aware of drafts and plug them up with rags, towels, or other deterrents. Keep windows closed, but don’t let your house get too hot. Adjust your thermostat periodically.

Seek Medical Advice If You Experience Symptoms

If you experience symptoms, head to your doctor straightaway. Being evaluated and sent home with allergy medicine is much better than letting the flu virus run rampant through your body. Symptoms may include a high fever, cough or sore throat, sinus congestion, head and body aches, intense fatigue and chills, and nausea or an upset stomach.