9 Health Precautions During Contagious Months

8 Health Precautions During Contagious Months

Cold and flu season is annoying to even the healthiest of people, but for those who are nearing, at, or past retirement age, it can be scary.

Updated on Mar 03 2020

Cold and flu season is annoying to even the healthiest of people, but for those who are nearing, at, or past retirement age, it can be scary. The common cold and influenza affect seniors more than their younger counterparts. With coronavirus, or COVID-19, on the rise, it’s more important than ever to practice health precautions. COVID-19, like influenza, affects seniors at a higher rate than those younger people.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

Seniors must take precautions during flu season to protect their health. While seniors are at risk for serious complications, the symptoms that they suffer from may be different than your traditional aches and pains.

Senior flu symptoms can include:

  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Malaise.
  • Loss of appetite.

Senior COVID-19 symptoms can include:

  • High fever.
  • Dry cough.
  • Pneumonia.
  • Shortness of breath.

Precautions to protect yourself from COVID-19, influenza, and the common cold

Most of the precautions to take during this season are ones that you have heard before. Wash your hands often, cough or sneeze into your elbows, and, the most important precaution of all, get your flu shot! The flu shot is the best way to minimize the effects of influenza, and it’s especially important if you are a senior. The CDC cannot emphasize this enough—get your flu shot!

Precautions to take to keep yourself from falling ill are:

  1. Get enough rest - Your immune system works better when you are not overtired. Make sure that you get enough rest and reduce your stress.

  2. Eat well - Make sure you are eating your fruits and vegetables and taking your vitamins. Help keep yourself healthy with minimally processed foods.

  3. Exercise regularly - And yes, walking counts! Any movement that gets you up and going for as little as 15 minutes a day boosts your chances to fight off colds and other diseases.

  4. Be aware of your surroundings - If you see someone who is sick, you should stay away from them. You may think this is rude, but cutting close contact with an ill person is one of the best precautions you can take for your health.

  5. Stay at home if you’re sick - This is a difficult one for many people. The US doesn’t guarantee sick leave so not going to work means not getting paid for millions of Americans. However, when you stay at home when you are sick, you aren’t just ensuring a faster recovery for yourself, you’re potentially preventing your coworkers from getting sick and spreading the illness to others.

  6. Wash your hands often and don’t touch your face - One of the best ways to prevent yourself from getting sick or spreading germs to others is frequent handwashing. Washing your hands for 20 seconds helps prevent germ spread. Try to not touch your face, as viruses and bacteria can enter your body through your mouth, nose, and eyes.

  7. Seek medical professionals - If you are feeling ill and have a high fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, it is generally recommended to seek out professional medical care. Seniors need to be especially cautious if they are having flu-like symptoms. Preventative care is a great way to stay on top of your health.

  8. Prepare for healthcare costs - Healthcare is expensive and many Americans don’t go to the doctor when they are sick for fear of high medical bills. When you are planning for your retirement, it’s important to keep healthcare costs in mind and plan for them accordingly.

COVID-19, the flu, and colds can turn serious for seniors. Because of that, it’s important to consider these precautions during this season. If you are concerned about healthcare and saving for it throughout retirement, consider hiring a financial advisor to walk you through planning.

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