With the threat of getting the flu, this time of year can be dangerous for older adults. While a younger person may be able to fight the flu easily, an older adult may struggle. Older adults are much more vulnerable to infections and potentially dangerous side effects from the common cold and the flu virus. One of the ways to help prevent illness, aside from getting the flu vaccination, is to boost your immune system. Here are some helpful ways to do just that.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Following a healthy diet with immune-boosting foods is key to maintaining health. Older adults should consume foods high in beta-carotene, zinc, and vitamins C and E. They should lower their sugar and fat intake while boosting their consumption of lean proteins and whole grains. Some great foods to consume include citrus fruits, avocados, berries, broccoli, red bell peppers, kale, yogurt, shellfish, and poultry. It’s also important to stay hydrated. This will keep mucous membranes moist and decrease the chance of catching a cold or the flu.
Take a Multivitamin
Older adults should talk with their doctor before taking supplements or a multivitamin, but they can be beneficial to fight infection and add a boost of immunity.
Older adults may not be able to work out like they used to, but regular exercise is still important. It doesn’t have to be super intense, but regular physical activity promotes circulation and heart health. It can also help relieve stress, which is another way you can help boost your immune system. An abundance of stress can suppress your immune system, so exercising to relieve stress is a great idea.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep also helps keep better control of stress levels. It’s a great immune system booster and some studies show that it not only helps us respond positively to inflammation, but it may also help us respond better to the flu vaccine.
Older adults should follow proper handwashing techniques to effectively clean away germs. Getting into the habit of covering coughs and sneezes, as well as washing hands really well, can help prevent older adults from contracting the flu virus.
Older adults are statistically more likely to contract infectious diseases, but that doesn’t mean they are doomed to get a cold and the flu each year. By taking healthy measure to boost the immune system, and cutting down on unhealthy behaviors—like smoking and excessive drinking—older adults can remain healthy during the cold and flu season.