The flu is a respiratory infection that affects many people, especially in the winter. Anyone can get the virus, which can cause mild to severe symptoms. Usually, symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, runny nose, coughing, sore throat, and fatigue.
These symptoms typically improve in about a week, with some people fully recovering without complications. But in older adults whose immune systems might be weaker, the flu can be dangerous. Here’s a look at six practical ways to keep yourself safe in this situation.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Not only should you wash your hands regularly, but you should also make a conscious effort not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The flu virus can travel in the air, but it can also enter your body when your infected hands touch your face.
When washing your hands, use warm soapy water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands and dry with a clean towel. Carry a bottle of hand sanitizing gel with you, and sanitize your hands throughout the day when unable to wash your hands. You can do this after shaking hands with someone and after coming into contact with commonly touched surfaces like doorknobs, light switches, and counters.
Strengthen Your Immune System
To build your immunity, sleep at least seven and a half to nine hours per night. Also, maintain a regular physical activity routine at least 30 minutes, three times a week.
Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet, as well. Limit sugar, junk foods, and fatty foods. Instead, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and antioxidants, to promote good health.
Avoid Large Crowds
The flu can spread quickly in confined spaces. This includes schools, workplaces, nursing homes, and assisted-living facilities. If you have a weaker immune system, wear a face mask whenever you’re in a public place during flu season.
You can also protect yourself by staying away from people who are sick. Keep your distance from anyone who is coughing, sneezing, or has other symptoms of a cold or virus.
Clean And Disinfect Surfaces
Use a disinfectant cleaner to wipe down doorknobs, telephones, toys, light switches, and other surfaces several times each day. The infected person should also quarantine themselves to a certain part of the house. If you’re caring for this individual, wear a surgical mask and gloves when attending to them, and wash your hands after.
Get Plenty Of Exercises
Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body.
Keep Nasal Passageways Moist
Taking a long steamy shower can help moisturize your throat and nasal passages, while also helping to clear them of mucus, Schachter says. If the flu is making you feel light-headed or weak, simply turn on the hot water, sit in the bathroom and inhale the steam for up to 10 minutes.
The usual symptoms to watch for include fever, coughing, sore throat, body aches, headache, tiredness, and runny nose. There’s no cure for the flu. But if you’re exposed to the virus and see a doctor early, you might be able to receive a prescription antiviral medication. Stay safe!