Staying Healthy In the Winter

January 3, 2014

Between holiday happiness, snowman-making and cups of hot cocoa, it can be easy to forget the perils of winter. Whether it is navigating an icy walkway, or warding off a nasty cold, this can be a dangerous time of year for anyone, particularly seniors.

One of the most serious winter illnesses is the seasonal flu, which is highly contagious and tends to peak in January and February.  Seniors are among those who are more likely to not only catch the flu, but to also experience complications from it. They are more susceptible to the flu because of their immune systems(which weaken as we age).Unfortunately, not only are seniors more prone to catching the virus but they’re also likely to suffer from complications that might arise from any other diseases or conditions that they might be fighting.  These factors, when combined, can lead to very serious outcomes.

The best way to keep yourself or your loved one safe from it is to ensure they are vaccinated each year before flu season hits. The flu shot is given at most local pharmacies (CVS, Walgreens, etc.) and of course, clinics and doctor’s offices. You should consult a doctor to determine the best course of action, including the advisability of a vaccination given an individual’s health, the dosage amount, and other factors.

It is also good to know that the flu shot is covered by Medicare.

Lastly, just because it is winter and the season of sickness, doesn’t mean you should refrain from visiting your friends or loved ones. Here are some simple tips on how to ensure your visits are safe and sickness free!

  1. Wash your hands with soap before each visit.
  2. When using their bathroom, be sure to use paper products that can be thrown away. Wiping your hands on their towels can leave germs that will spread.
  3. Walk out of the room when you need to cough or sneeze.
  4. Use a paper town or tissue when opening or closing doors in their apartment.

So bundle up, stay smart, and be healthy!