How to Avoid the Flu During the Busy Holiday Season

  • November 15, 2018

If it seems like you develop a case of the flu or a nasty cold more often during the holidays, you aren’t alone. From shopping in crowded malls to attending family gatherings and office parties, we are all exposed to the virus more than we realize during the holiday season. 

It just isn’t practical to try to avoid people during this time of year so you don’t get sick. Your best course of action is to take steps to keep the flu bug at bay.

5 Ways to Reduce Your Risk of Getting the Flu during the Holidays

  1. Get a flu shot: Experts say receiving the influenza vaccine is one of the best ways to prevent the flu. Because the virus is a little different every year, the vaccine is different too. That’s way you need an annual flu shot. If you haven’t had yours this year, make it a priority to do so. It takes a few weeks for your immunity to build up so getting vaccinated early can protect you better during peak season.
  2. Practice good self-care: During the holidays when your schedule is busier than ever, it’s easy to let self-care go by the wayside. Party food, cocktails, and a lack of exercise can take a toll on your health. This is especially true if you are a busy caregiver for a senior loved one. A rundown immune system can make you more vulnerable to the virus. During flu season, it’s important to sleep 7- 8 hours each night, follow a healthy diet, and get exercise. These three self-care practices can help keep your immune system strong. 
  3. Limit personal contact: While it might feel uncomfortable, avoiding personal contact at holiday events can lower your risk for picking up a bug. The influenza virus is highly contagious and easily transmitted. Hugs and handshakes can expose you to it. If you feel self-conscious limiting personal contact, explain that you think you may have been exposed to the flu and you don’t want to pass it on. People will appreciate that. 
  4. Wash your hands often: Washing your hands with warm, soapy water helps to kill any viruses you’ve been exposed to. A rule of thumb is to sing a chorus of Yankee Doodle Dandy to yourself. When you finish the chorus, chances are you’ve scrubbed away any bugs that might have been transferred to you. For the times you won’t have access to soap and water, keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your purse or glove compartment.
  5. Avoid touching your face: Most of us don’t realize how many times a day we touch our face. If you have been exposed to the virus and have it on your hands, a quick scratch of the nose or rubbing the eyes can increase your risk for developing the flu. Try to make a conscious effort not to touch your face during flu season.

Finally, if you feel like you might be coming down with the flu, call your doctor as soon as the first symptoms appear. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there are antiviral medications your doctor can prescribe that help lessen the severity of flu symptoms and shorten the length of time you are sick. But this medication must be administered early to be effective. 

Follow the Five Star Blog

If you found this article to be helpful and are interested in staying on top of the latest news and research on aging, bookmark “Resources for Seniors” and stop back often. We update this blog several times each week.
 


Pillar tags:

51 Warning Signs

51 Warning Signs

As you care for your aging loved ones, learn how to spot unusual behaviors ranging from poor nutrition to depression.

Download the eBook
Link to Five Star Premier Residences of Yonkers Landing Page

Featured
Community Near You

Five Star Premier Residences of Yonkers

Available Services

  • Independent Living
  • Assisted Living
  • Memory Care - Alzheimer's / Dementia
  • Respite Care and Short Term Stays
  • Seasonal Stays
Explore Now

Or Search All Communities

Share This Article with Friends or Family

 
 
   
   

Related Articles

6 Signs a Senior Needs Assisted Living

6 Signs a Senior Needs Assisted Living

December 27, 2018

Read More »


Health & Wellness

How Isolation Can Put a Senior at Risk

How Isolation Can Put a Senior at Risk

January 17, 2019

Read More »


Health & Wellness

How to Manage Agitation When a Loved One Has Alzheimer's Disease

How to Manage Agitation When a Loved One Has Alzheimer's Disease

October 16, 2018

Read More »


Health & Wellness