10 Flu Prevention Tips for Seniors: What to Do When Your Partner Is Sick
While flu season doesn’t technically begin until the fall, this virus can actually be contracted year round, and adults over 65 are typically more susceptible to complications.
When you live within the same four walls as someone who has the flu, it can be quite difficult to dodge those contagious germs. What’s worse, there is no fool proof method in which to prevent yourself from catching it.
There are, however, some steps you can take to substantially reduce these risks and, with a bit of luck, remain free from infection while providing support to your loved one. Don’t miss these 10 helpful ideas:
Get Your Annual Flu Shot
Prevention is always your best defense, hence why you should never skip over your annual flu shot. The flu virus itself evolves so rapidly that it is important to receive this injection every year, otherwise your immune system may not be equipped to fend off these bugs.
If you have forgotten to do so this year and your partner is already sick, then speak to your doctor about the vaccination anyway as it might still help.
Look After Yourself
It is your body’s job to protect you from the flu, so fortify it with the fuel it needs to do so. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, stay hydrated, and stock up on a supplement which aids the immune system in its function such as vitamin C and/or D. Smoking and alcohol consumption are not recommended whatsoever.
Wash Your Hands Regularly
Keep germs off of your body, especially where they can easily transfer into your system like your eyes, nose and mouth.
The simplest way of achieving this is to wash your hands regularly, especially after dealing with the ill person in question. Use antibacterial soap, concentrate on your fingernails, and keep alcohol-based sanitizers around every corner.
Clean All Surfaces Regularly
Much like your hands, every surface needs to be constantly disinfected to prevent germs from spreading. Scour your house for the most commonly touched areas and attack them with your strongest cleaning products.
Start with the countertops, doorknobs, fridge handles, faucets, television remotes, keyboards and phones. These viruses have been known to live up to 48 hours on certain surfaces, so be warned!
Dispose of Used Tissues
Unlike many other surfaces, a virus usually won’t survive in a tissue environment for longer than 15 minutes. Regardless, they are an unsightly symbol of a bacteria-ridden household and won’t do your comfort any favors.
Ask your loved one to kindly dispose of all tissues in the trash immediately after use, making it easier for you to dispose of them regularly. One should also always wash their skin directly after handling these materials, just to be safe.
Don’t Share Items
Another clever plan is to exclusively designate certain items to your sick partner, such as cups, utensils or towels, and then thoroughly clean these articles as soon as you can.
An infected toothbrush should be situated far away from yours, and once their flu has passed, replace said toothbrush immediately. Furthermore, all bedding should be washed after your loved one feels healthier.
Avoid Close Contact
Your loved one may be moaning for attention, but it is in everyone’s best interest that you quarantine them as much as possible. Germs are often spread via coughs or sneezes, traveling through the air and then breathed into your lungs, hence why you need to keep your distance.
Provide your partner with ample medication and tissues, and then spend most of your time in a separate room, for at least two to three days – as this is the most contagious period. And remember, no kissing!
Open a Window
Obviously, a cold breeze blowing onto an unwell person is not a smart idea, but it’s still important to get some fresh oxygen circulating around the house for your own breathing benefit.
Open up a few windows in every room other than the one where your partner is, or better yet, go for a walk and enjoy the clean air outside.
Maximize Your Hydration
Much like your poor partner, you need to keep your water levels high. This will help the circulation of your blood which means a stronger defense system against the flu virus – not to mention all the other immeasurable health advantages that water provides.
Get Enough Sleep
Another way to ensure that your immune system is in top form is to get your seven to eight hours of nightly slumber. These resting periods will assist your body’s rejuvenation process, helping it to fight off infections much easier.
It’s also advisable that you sleep in a different room than your partner for the duration of their illness for additional protection.
Do you get a flu shot every year? Do you have any other flu prevention strategies you would like to share with the community? What about the summer flu? Let’s have this very important discussion in the comments below.
Jessica Hegg is the content manager at ViveHealth.com. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle. Through her writing, she works to share valuable information aimed at overcoming obstacles and improving the quality of life for others. You can find her on Twitter @Jessica_Hegg.