Winter is the time of colds and flu and seniors are particularly susceptible with a reduced immune system and other health issues that can complicate matters. It is important that they do everything possible to prevent the cold or flu and treat it right away if they do get sick. If you have a senior parent or other senior family member, you should make sure they are aware of these tips to get through a cold or flu with less misery and shorten the duration.
Get Plenty of Rest
Rest allows your immune system to recover and fight off the cold or flu in a natural way. Seniors should not force themselves to do more than they feel like doing. Sleeping in or going to bed early and taking a long nap can help them recover sooner.
Gargle with Salt Water
Seniors that are suffering from a sore throat should gargle with salt water to provide sore throat relief. This can reduce the irritation for a few hours. You can also have them drink tea with honey or lemon to soothe an irritated throat.
Drink Hot Liquids
Seniors should drink hot tea or coffee to relieve nasal congestion and prevent dehydration, which is a major problem with seniors when they get sick. The hot liquids can also soothe the inflammation in the nose and throat.
Take a Steamy Shower
A warm shower with plenty of steam can loosen clogged nasal passages and relax sore muscles. However, seniors who do not feel well should not try to take a shower when they are home alone in case they would get dizzy and fall. If they do not feel like getting in the shower, they can sit on a chair right outside of the shower where the steam can reach them.
Use an Extra Pillow
Often clogged nasal passages or bronchial tubes can make it difficult to breathe comfortably. Placing an extra pillow under the head can make it easier to breathe and get more rest.
Use Hot Packs or a Heating Pad
A hot pack or heating pad placed on sore muscles can make seniors feel better. Taking a few minutes to use one just before going to bed can help them sleep better. However, seniors should not go to sleep with the pad. It can increase the danger of electrical shock
Acetaminophen is good for aches and pains and can help relieve a sore throat. Over-the-counter cough syrup can also reduce the frequency and severity of sore throats along with cough drops. However, if your senior loved ones take other medicines on regular basis, you will need to check with their doctor to make sure there are no interactions or precautions. Eat
One danger with seniors who get a cold or flu is that they often lose their appetite and do not force themselves to eat. They need their nutrition and the right foods can help them fight off their sickness. One food that has been proven to be valuable for colds and flu is the famous chicken soup. It helps open up sinuses and is easy on an upset stomach.
Keep sanitizers on hand for all guests, caregivers, and the seniors to use on their hands to prevent the spread of germs. This is the best way to prevent colds in the first place and to keep them from being prolonged.
While there are many other products that claim to shorten the duration of a cold or relieve the symptoms, seniors need to be careful with what they try. Over-the-counter flu remedies can interact with prescription medications and many of them mask the symptoms without improving the sickness. For instance, some of the OTC cold and flu medicines can dry out nasal passages or make you feel tired and low in energy.
Natural herbal remedies can seem like the ideal solution but they often interact with prescription medications, too. They have their own side effects that can be serious and even dangerous. Seniors should always talk to their doctor before taking any medication or natural supplements they are not familiar with.
Carefect Homecare services caregivers can assist seniors to take care of themselves when they have a cold of flu. They can fix meals when the senior does not feel like making anything. They can also monitor a senior’s sickness and contact the family if the senior does not start feeling better in a few days.