Our immune system protects us from a wide range of health conditions and infections like cold and flu. However, aging comes with many adverse effects, and you might see yourself suffering from fever and cough quite frequently. Now, to prevent this, you must strengthen your immune system by adopting a healthy lifestyle. Keeping a good and healthy lifestyle is essential for senior citizens who want to boost the immune system. Maintaining a healthy diet with all the nutritious spices and herbs, a rich source of minerals and vitamins, can help defend your body against various illnesses and infections.
In the United States, the month of October to May is considered flu season, and the virus tends to affect many people from different age groups each year. The typical flu symptoms are runny nose, chills, body ache, headache, fever, and coughing. These symptoms can be severe or mild and might typically last for only 2 to 3 weeks.
The flu might not cause any serious concern for teenagers, but adults might have some risk factors and complications. The reason being older people tend to have a weak immune system. If you are above 65 years old, here is what you should do to strengthen your immune system and prevent fever and its complications.
Ways to Boost Your Immune System:
1. Get a Flu Vaccination:
Flu vaccination can reduce the risk of infection by 60%. The flu vaccine takes up to two weeks to show effective results. The vaccine works by strengthening and stimulating your immune system for creating antibodies, which will protect you against any infections and bacteria.
There are two different types of vaccines. Some of these vaccines are available to people of any age group. But vaccines by the name of Fluad and Fluzone are for adults over the age of 65 and older. These two vaccines help strengthen and stimulate the immune system of adults compared to standard flu shots.
While taking a flu vaccine shot, don't forget to ask your doctors about pneumococcal vaccines, which will protect you against meningitis and pneumonia.
2. Eat a Healthy Diet:
Consuming nutritious, prosperous, and healthy food is one of the most effective ways of boosting and strengthening your immune system so that it becomes capable of fighting infections and viruses. This means you should include nutritious fruits and vegetables, a good source of antioxidants and vitamins to promote a healthy lifestyle.
With the consumption of nutritious vegetables and fruits, ensure you reduce your intake of processed foods, sugar, and fat, and include lean meat in your diet. If you do not get enough nutrients and vitamins from your diet, ask your doctor to recommend some herbal supplements or multivitamins.
3. Get Active:
Performing strenuous physical activities or exercises can become difficult with age, but that doesn't mean that an adult should stop moving altogether. Regular physical exercises and activities can strengthen your immune system and help your body fight off different viruses and infections.
Make the aim to perform at least 30 minutes of exercise or activities three days a week. This should include walking, yoga, swimming, biking, or any other low-impact exercise.
Daily exercises and physical activities help increase your blood circulation and have an anti-inflammatory effect on your body.
4. Lower your Stress Level:
Chronic stress is one of the conditions that can affect your immune system by decreasing its effectiveness. When a person is under pressure, the body produces more amount of cortisol. Cortisol is a hormone that helps in dealing with stressful conditions or situations. Still, with that, it also limits your bodily functions that are essential for fighting various infections and viruses.
Having short-term stress will not harm or affect your body. At the same time, chronic stress will decrease your immune response by making it more susceptible to illnesses and viruses.
For reducing your stress level, set the limitations, and do not hesitate to say no. Engage yourself in activities that you find relaxing and enjoyable, such as gardening or reading.
5. Get Plenty of Sleep:
Being sleep-deprived also reduces the effectiveness of your immune system. Sleep becomes an essential factor with age because it improves your brain functions, memory, and concentration level. Old citizens who don't get the proper amount of sleep become susceptible to nighttime falls.
Every individual should aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night. To improve your sleep quality, make sure your room is quiet, calm, and dark. Maintain a bedtime routine and ensure to limit your daytime naps for 45 minutes. Reduce your caffeine intake during the night, and don't drink beverages or water before one and half hours to bed.
Consult your doctor if you still have a sleep problem to identify any health-related or underlying cause.
6. Maintain a Healthy Weight:
Adults who are overweight should incorporate more physical exercise and activities and also adjust their diet plan. This will help in shedding excess pounds of weight. This is very important as carrying too much weight can bring a negative impact on the immune system.
Both eating a healthy diet with physical exercises and activities can help you reduce inflammation and keep your immune system strong and healthy.
7. Quit Smoking:
We're quite aware of the fact that smoking is injurious to health. The chemicals in cigarettes highly damage the tissues in your lungs and increase the risk of lung cancer. Apart from that, they can also cause respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, pneumonia, and flu.
For maintaining a healthy immune system, take a step and quit smoking cigarettes. You can also consider using smoking cessation aids such as nicotine gum or nicotine patches. Make sure to consult your doctor regarding your medication for reducing cravings for a cigarette.
8. Spend Time Outdoor:
Vitamin D is an essential vitamin that is required to strengthen your immune system. If you are suffering from vitamin D deficiency, your doctor may prescribe you supplements or multivitamins.
Spending some time outdoors will allow your body to observe vitamin D from sunlight naturally. The amount of vitamin D that you get from the sun depends upon your skin tone. Some individuals might need 15 minutes, whereas some might need two hours.
Make sure you spend some time outside when the sun is not too intense.
The flu is one of the most potentially dangerous viruses for individuals above 65 and older. You need to take the required steps for strengthening your immune system to avoid the flu and cold.
However, influenza is not always preventable, so it is better to consult a doctor immediately if you see any developing symptoms. Intake of antivirals within the first 48 hours may reduce the severity and symptoms of the virus.