Flu season typically ranges from October to May in the United States and can affect individuals from any age group. Symptoms can be mild or severe and typically last from one to two weeks. Although most cases do not induce serious problems, there is a greater risk for those who are 65 years and older. The reasoning for this is because older adults tend to have weaker immune systems.
If you or a loved one is over the age of 65, here are some things that can be done to help strengthen the immune system and help prevent illnesses such as the flu.
1. Get a flu vaccination
An annual flu vaccination can reduce your risk of infection by 40 to 60 percent. You may have heard that the vaccine is less effective in senior adults because their bodies tend to create fewer antibodies in response to the vaccination. Antibodies work to help your body fight and protect against infections. Although, the flu vaccine is less effective in senior adults, it does not mean it is not at all effective. The CDC estimates that for the 2017-2018 flu season, the vaccination prevented around 700,000 influenza cases and 65,000 hospitalizations, for adults aged 65 and older.
You may be surprised to discover that there are various types of flu vaccinations, including ones designed specifically for senior adults. Two influenza vaccinations designed to work more in line with aging immune systems have been approved specifically for individuals 65 and older:
Fluzone High-Dose: contains four times the amount of antigen compared to the standard dose. Read more about this vaccine here.
Fluad: contains an additive that is intended to stimulate a better immune response to the vaccine. Read more about this vaccine here.
Yearly influenza vaccinations are 100% covered by Medicare, with no deductible or co-pay.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Nutrient-rich diets are another way to boost immune systems and help fight off viruses. These diets are rich in fruits and vegetables – because of the large amounts of vitamins and antioxidants they contain – which help promote good health.
As you age, it is important to try and reduce the amount of sugar, fat, and processed foods that are ingested. Instead, try replacing them with lean meats such as skinless chicken, turkey, or pork chops with the fat trimmed off.
Try adding multivitamins and herbal supplements in addition to a nutrient-rich diet to help get all of the necessary vitamins. Easy Comforts sells a variety of herbal supplements to aid in your immune system boosting needs.
Helps build a strong immune system while protecting against viral and bacterial infections.
Encourages overall immune system health, clear skin, and invigorated energy levels.
Promotes respiratory tract and immune system health.
3. Get Active, Exercise
Physical activity can become increasingly more difficult with age, but that doesn’t mean that movement should stop completely. Regular physical activity can strengthen your immune system to help the body fight off infections and viruses, relax the mind and body, and promote circulation and heart health.
Seniors should aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity three times a week. Activities do not need to be rigorous and can include things such as walking, biking, swimming, yoga, along with many others.
4. Get plenty of sleep
Sleep deprivation reduces the effectiveness of an individual’s immune system. Having enough sleep becomes increasingly more important as we age. Sleep helps improve brain function, concentration, and memory. It has also been shown to help improve response to the flu vaccine. Senior adults who regularly do not get enough sleep start to become more susceptible to nighttime falls.
Whether you have trouble sleeping because of anxiety, snoring, restlessness, or any other ailment, Easy Comforts is here to help you get the restful sleep you deserve. Choose from a variety of products to aid in your mission for better sleep health.
Transform your bed into a completely adjustable bed for reading, watching TV, easing heartburn, indigestion, allergies, or snoring.
If you’re a restless sleeper – or simply prefer to keep bedding off your feet – you’ll appreciate the sheet and blanket support.
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5. Keep a positive mindset
Endorphins, known as the “feel good” hormones can be triggered in many different ways. Having a positive outlook on life is one way to help increase endorphins. Refrain from isolation. Try to stay socially active, and surround yourself with positive people.
The more you laugh, the happier and healthier you are. Not only does laughter increase your immune system it also helps relieve pain, release emotions, and increases oxygen levels while stimulating your heart. Comedy shows, plays, etcetera are great ways to induce laughter.
Keep your spirits high by engaging in your favorite activities and hobbies. Find puzzle books, coloring books, games, and more on Easy Comforts.
Illness isn’t inevitable, but taking the steps to live a happy and healthy lifestyle will make it so you and your loved ones can enjoy the most out of their lives.
What do you do to help yourself or a loved one keep a healthy lifestyle over 65? Let us know in the comments below.