2240492703_4f23636c84_zWe all know flu season is in full swing. However, people over the age of 65 have a greater risk for contracting flu and the effects can be more harmful and lasting than in younger adults. Here are eight tips you can take to help protect yourself against the flu this year.

  1. Get a flu shot. Even though flu shots are only 70-90% effective, it will decrease your chances of getting it. It can be even more important for people with asthma, diabetes, and heart or lung disease as they are at an even greater risk for flu than the rest of the population.
  2. Bring your own sanitizing wipes to the store or use the ones provided at grocery stores to wipes down those grimy carts. Wipe down surfaces and objects that could be contaminated with flu and other germs (such as door handles, faucets, credit card machines, and gas pumps).
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth without washing your hands first. One study found that 15% of cell phones have bacteria known to cause infection.
  4. Wash your hands often. When a sink with soap is not available, use hand sanitizer.
  5. Get plenty of sleep. A study on the National Library of Medicine website suggests that inflammation increases with two less hours of sleep per night, and even “the immune response to vaccination against influenza virus was diminished after 6 days of restricted sleep.”
  6. Drink plenty of water.
  7. Talk to your doctor about taking immune system-boosting supplements such as echinacea and vitamin C.
  8. Lower your sugar intake. A regular can of soda will suppress the immune system by 30% for three hours.

What do you do to prevent illness in your household? Share with us in the comments below!