Because the human body’s immune system gradually becomes weaker as time goes on, it is of the utmost importance that those 65 years and older take all precautions to prepare for flu season. As it approaches, we have a few actions you can take this flu season to stay healthy:
- Get your flu shot! The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends anyone 6 months of age and older should be receiving an annual flu vaccination by the end of October each year. Flu viruses change year to year, and immunity diminishes over time, so an annual vaccine in the fall is important to keep fighting the flu. There is also a special flu vaccine made specifically for seniors that contains four times as much active ingredient as the typical flu shot to increase the immune system's response.
- Stay up to date on all pneumococcal vaccinations. Diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis and blood stream infections are complications that can arise from the flu virus. Ask your doctor which vaccines would be best for you.
- Including foods such as broccoli, spinach, sweet potatoes, and watermelon in your diet can help boost your immune system and keep you healthy.
- Make sure to wash your hands often and thoroughly, cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing, and avoid being around others who are sick. The flu is highly contagious and is most commonly spread by germs spread through coughing and sneezing.
- If you develop flu symptoms, seek advice from your doctor immediately. Treatment with antiviral drugs may be needed to avoid serious flu complications.