While the cold and flu season may be coming to an end soon, the same can’t be said for the coronavirus, aka COVID-19.

And just like with the flu season, seniors and those with compromised immune systems are the ones who are the most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Also, caregivers may be especially vulnerable to COVID-19 as well. Generally speaking, people who don’t get enough sleep and are stressed out are at a greater risk of dying from coronavirus. And furthermore, since caregivers and seniors spend a lot of time together, you’re even more likely to pass germs between each other.

But still, there are many things you can do to reduce the odds of either of you getting sick.

The two key components of the plan are avoiding exposure to germs and boosting your immune system.

We’ll go over each part below. If you follow these tips, you’ll be able to avoid the flu and COVID-19 and reduce the chances of experiencing more serious symptoms from any kind of illness in dementia and assisted living facilities.

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  1. Get Your Flu Shot

It’s never too late to get the flu shot. Getting it will reduce the risk of catching the flu. And if you do happen to catch the flu, the symptoms won’t be as bad if you got the flu shot beforehand. Additionally, if you’re a senior, you’ll also reduce the risk of any complications arising from the flu.

And if you’re a caregiver, you should still get the flu shot because you’ll reduce the chance of getting sick and infecting your older adult.

  1. Adopt a Regular Exercise Routine

A moderate level of exercise will improve your immune system and might even reduce your chances of getting a cold by one third. Even if your energy levels aren’t that high, any amount of exercise is better than nothing and will benefit your body and immune system.

If you’re a caregiver, you should also do the same. We know that caregiving leaves little time for anything else, but just do what you can, and you’ll benefit as well.

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  1. Wash Hands Effectively and Often

Wash your hands as often as possible to effectively get rid of flu germs and cold bugs.

Any kind of normal soap will do as long as you rub your hands together for a minimum of 20 seconds to get rid of all the germs. Think of it as singing the “Happy Birthday” song two times in a row. A thorough hand washing means cleaning under the nails, the back of the hands, in between fingers, and yes, even your wrists!

Hand sanitizer can work in a pinch. While it doesn’t kill all bugs and isn’t as effective as a good hand washing, it can still be useful for seniors who have difficulty getting up to wash their hands.

  1. Avoid Contact With Your Mouth, Eyes, and Nose

Touching our face without thinking comes naturally, but unfortunately, it’s one of the most common ways for flue and cold bugs to enter our bodies. So to lower the chances of getting sick, try not to touch your face.

The only time that you should touch your face is when you’re covering your nose and mouth with tissues if you start to cough or sneeze. Doing this will help to protect the people around you from getting sick. Flu, colds, and coronavirus are spread by dirty hands, coughing, and sneezing.

  1. Keep Your Smartphone Clean

Smartphones and other mobile devices can become filthy with germs over time. So now more than ever, it’s important to clean it often with rubbing alcohol or sanitizing wipes. Just be careful not to make it too wet.

  1. Make the Area Clean to Get Rid of Germs

Make it your goal to keep your living space as clean as possible. Use disinfectant when you do your cleaning, particularly in the kitchen and bathroom areas. Also remember to clean those problem areas like bathroom counters, doorknobs, kitchen counters, and light switches.

You should also remember to disinfectant cleaning rags and sponges (both of which are breeding grounds for germs). Some ways that you can do this include putting them in the dishwasher, replacing them often, putting them in the microwave for one minute, and soaking them in bleach.

If you work outside, remember to wash your hands after handling communal items. Be sure to routinely disinfect your personal working area as well.

  1. Avoid Sick People

This might sound obvious, but not enough people follow this simple advice: practice social distancing at all times because anyone can be sick, and you wouldn’t necessarily know it.

If you’re required to be around someone who is sick, try to limit touching by avoiding common habits such as handshakes or hugs.

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  1. Stay Hydrated

There are many known benefits of drinking plenty of water. But did you know that plain water and hot tea can also make your nasal passages stay moist and contain any germs before they have a chance to get into your body?

  1. Stay Away From Crowds

It’s common sense to avoid public places during a pandemic since these are places were germs normally accumulate. Remember, lots of people in close quarters = germ city.

However, you can still enjoy a good movie night at your local senior living center. That can actually be a great way to reduce your stress, which is also good for your health. Especially if that movie happens to be a comedy since these movies are great for boosting your immune system via laughter.

All you should remember to do is carry some hand sanitize and avoid close contact with the people around you. Try not to touch areas that have a lot of hand traffic, and if you must use a doorknob, see if you can have someone else open the door for you instead.

  1. Vitamin C

Vitamin C is critical for reducing your chances of getting sick. Obtaining it through your food is the best option, but a 200 mg supplement will also do the job. However, check with a doctor first before giving it to your older adult to make sure that it would be safe for them.