Research Study Reveals Reasons Why Seniors Get More Colds and Flus in Wintertime

A study published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reveals that researchers may have determined why respiratory illnesses occur more often in winter. According to the study, seniors are more likely to suffer from colds and flu during winter due to several factors.

Many Seniors Spend More Time Outside in Winter Than in Summer

One of the main reasons for this is that during this time of year, seniors tend to spend more time indoors, which increases their risk of exposure to viruses and bacteria that can cause colds and flu. This lack of outdoor activity can also weaken seniors’ immune systems, making them more susceptible to infection.

Dry Winter Air Makes Seniors More Susceptible to Colds and Flu

In addition, during the winter, the air is usually much drier than at other times of the year. This dryness causes mucous membranes in the nose and throat to become dry and irritated, leading to increased respiratory infections. Because seniors often have weakened immune systems due to age-related changes, they are especially vulnerable to these infections. Furthermore, they may not be able to generate enough mucous naturally to protect themselves against viral and bacterial pathogens as effectively as a younger person could.

Underlying Health Conditions Make Seniors More Vulnerable to Colds and Flu

Certain underlying health conditions affecting many seniors can also make them more likely to catch colds and flu during the winter. These include chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, diabetes, heart failure, and arthritis. Seniors with any of these conditions often have weakened immune systems, making them vulnerable to a cold or flu virus.

Lifestyle Issues Make Seniors More Vulnerable to Colds and Flu

Another factor is lifestyle choices made by seniors that contribute toward their susceptibility to catching colds or flu in wintertime. Seniors may not get enough rest or take care of themselves properly by eating well-balanced meals or exercising regularly. All of these things can weaken immunity over time. In addition, if a senior lives alone and has difficulty shopping for groceries or preparing meals on their own due to physical limitations, they may not get enough essential nutrients needed for a robust immune system.

Hygiene Practices and Senior Vulnerability to Cold and Flu

Finally, hygiene practices play an important role in reducing one’s chances of catching colds or flu during colder months. Germs tend to thrive more easily indoors than outdoors due to warm temperatures inside homes and buildings compared with outside temperatures. As such, seniors (and everyone) need to practice good handwashing techniques with soap frequently throughout the day. It is also important to avoid touching the face, especially around their mouth and eyes, without washing their hands first. More on hygiene practices will be discussed in a moment.

Strategies to Protect Senior Loved Ones Against Wintertime Colds and Flu

Cold and flu season is especially difficult for seniors. For older adults, the winter months bring more chances of catching colds and the flu, which can lead to serious health complications. To keep seniors safe during the wintertime, follow these five tips to help protect them from cold and flu viruses:

  • Ensure proper nutrition
  • Exercise regularly
  • Avoid smoking
  • Get vaccinated
  • Practice good hygiene habits

Ensure Proper Nutrition

Every person needs proper nutrition to stay healthy and strong, but it’s particularly important for seniors since their immune system is not as strong as a younger person’s. Make sure that seniors eat a well-balanced diet full of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, healthy fats, and plenty of fluids. Also, be sure they are taking any recommended dietary supplements like Vitamin C or Zinc as they can provide an extra boost in terms of immunity.

Exercise Regularly

One way to prevent illness is by boosting the body’s natural ability to fight infections through exercise. Seniors should stay active with moderate-intensity exercises such as walking or swimming at least three times per week for 30 minutes each time. Avoid high-intensity workouts as those can be too strenuous on aging bodies. However, regular activity will help keep joints flexible and build muscle strength while providing much-needed emotional support during colder months when many seniors may become more isolated due to weather conditions or less physical activity outdoors.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia or bronchitis due to its damaging effects on lung tissue. Even if smoking has been a habit for years, quitting not only reduces the risk of getting sick but can also lower blood pressure, improve circulation, reduce stress levels, and increase mental clarity – all benefits that will help protect a senior from colds and flu this winter season.

Get Vaccinated

Seniors must get vaccinated against the seasonal flu virus (influenza A & B) and other illnesses like pneumonia or shingles, depending on their age or existing medical conditions to reduce their risk of catching something unpleasant this winter season. Talk with your doctor about what vaccines best suit your senior loved one’s needs, so they are appropriately protected against these illnesses this year.

Practice Good Hygiene Habits

Older individuals should practice good handwashing habits, using soap and warm water regularly throughout the day – especially before meals – to reduce the spread of germs that could cause illness during winter months when people tend to spend more time indoors together in close proximity without adequate ventilation between themselves and others who may be carrying contagious diseases like colds or influenza viruses. Additionally, remind your senior loved one about covering their mouth when coughing and sneezing to avoid spreading germs further around them.

Taking proactive steps will ensure that your senior loved ones remain healthy throughout this year’s cold and flu season. With proper nutrition, exercise, avoiding smoking habits, getting vaccinated when necessary, and following basic hygiene practices, you can help protect your elderly family members from getting sick during peak times when germs are most prevalent around many households across all states in America.