Cold and flu season are in high gear, and as winter fades into march and new viruses make their way into our region, it’s important to stay vigilant about prevention to keep the spread of disease at bay.

Seniors face higher risks when it comes to the spread of illness, and it’s especially important to take every possible precaution to prevent the spread of cold or flu viruses. Taking simple steps like getting proper sleep, exercising regularly and maintaining a healthy diet can go a long way in keeping your immune system strong.

As viruses spread, it’s especially important to wash your hands regularly and avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth. When you know a bug is going around, try to avoid contact with those who may be exposed. Get as much fresh air and sunshine as possible, and continue to manage your stress.

Here are simple, healthy ways to help prevent the cold and flu this season.
*Before making any changes to your lifestyle or routine, please consult your doctor.

Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands correctly and regularly is the single most important way to prevent the spread of cold and flu. After going to the store or enjoying social time out in the community, pop into the restroom and wash your hands up to your wrist for a full 20 seconds or more at a time. Continuously keeping germs off your hands and fingertips will significantly decrease the likelihood that you’ll get sick, so keep those faucets flowing!

Get Your Zzzs
Your body needs sleep to recover and restore after each day, and during cold and flu season, being rested is one of the number one ways to keep your immune system working and working well. Make sure to get 8 hours of sleep or more per night. If you find that difficult to do, add in an afternoon nap to help you catch up. No matter what you do, get in those zzzzs.

Keep Moving
In winter, it can be more difficult to get out for long walks or bike rides. It’s important to keep moving as best you can, to help encourage blood flow and keep your immune and nervous system working well. Even heading out for a light walk around the block or hopping on the stationary bike in the fitness studio will go a long to help keep you feeling your best.

Avoid Contact with People Who Have Been Sick
When viruses begin to spread, make sure to keep your distance from those who may have been exposed. This may mean having to cancel a weekly coffee date or monthly book club gathering, but your health is always worth it.

Avoid Touching Your Face
You may not realize it, but you likely touch your face multiple times a day. Even the most vigilant hand washers can’t keep germs completely away, but you can lower your risk significantly by keeping your hands off your face where germs can spread easily and quickly.

Clean & Disinfect Household Surfaces Regularly
Keep your surfaces disinfected and clean, and try to avoid wearing shoes indoors, especially if you’ve been in high traffic areas or in a medical facility. Keeping your home free of germs will help keep your body free of germs, so keep the lysol wipes stocked.

Don’t Push It
When in doubt, rest as much as you need to during this time of year. When temperatures become excessively cold or you feel run down or tired, take time off and take extra special care of you. Contact your doctor immediately if you begin to have any possible symptoms, including cough, runny nose, headache or fever.