Cold & Flu Season After 50: How to Stay Healthy

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Winter can be rough on your health. Between the stress of the holidays, the seasonal weather changes, and the flu, colds, and other minor illnesses that always go around this time of year, you can start to feel bad fast.

According to the CDC, Flu Season typically runs between October and May of each year, with the most people getting sick between December and February. While sometimes it seems you will get sick no matter what, there are preventative measures you can take to fight flu season and feel your best.

Stay Hydrated, Eat Healthy

Katie Ferraro is a Certified Diabetes Educator and Registered Dietician. She is an Assistant Clinical Professor and a specialist in web-based nutrition curriculum.

When it comes to thriving in the winter, Ferraro recommends increasing your water intake and making healthy choices with meals.

Staying hydrated is key for helping to fend off certain bugs. A balanced diet featuring whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean dairy can help provide the appropriate vitamins and minerals needed to optimize your immune system.

While many people recommend taking supplements, Ferrero says that is not always necessary.Katie-Ferraro

Healthy seniors can certainly achieve all of their nutrient needs from foods alone. Don’t look to supplements to help fend off disease. Vitamin C supplements can help make a cold shorter or less intense, but high doses may upset your stomach. Look to naturally occurring sources of vitamin C such as fresh fruits and vegetables as your best bet for staying healthy this winter.

Try to incorporate fresh foods into your diet as much as you can. Even when you are out, almost all restaurants offer salads or fruit cups.

See a Registered Dietician

In the 35 years she has been a practicing clinical nutritionist, Mary Hartley has helped thousands of patients achieve their health goals. Hartley specializes in obesity, chronic diseases and eating disorders.

Mary-HartleyHartley recommend a visit with a registered dietician to make sure you are getting the proper nutrients during cold and flu season.

Anyone who wants to eat smarter can benefit from a visit with a nutritionist. A registered dietitian can help you sort through information and misinformation and learn to prefer and eat in a healthy way that works for you as an individual.

Hartley gives a few tips on preparing to see a dietician.

Before visiting with a nutritionist, make a list of your questions and keep detailed food records for at least 3 days. That will help you both to see what you need to fix. Choose a nutritionist who is a registered dietitian to get a nutrition expert.

To find a dietician, visit The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Make sure you talk to your Doctor and get their recommendation first.

Get Your Flu Vaccine

Teresa-KindredTeresa Kindred is an author and blogger at Nanahood, one of the top websites for grandparents. Teresa believes that the best way to stay healthy is to make sure she is updated on all vaccinations.

I get the flu shot every year. If my doctor recommends I get something else I will. I trust him explicitly. I want to stay healthy! I live a very active life and I need to keep healthy to do so!

Judy Freeman, who blogs at A Boomer’s Life After 50, also recommends getting your flu shot to stay healthy. Judy Freedman is a writer and speaker who is passionate about reaching others over 50 with this message: it’s never too late to reinvent your life. She also contributes to Healthy Women, the Huffington Post and more.

Judy-FreedmanFreeman shares a good way to remember your shot.

The only vaccine I get is the flu vaccine. I’ve found that it helps prevent flu during the winter months. Seniors may forget to get their shots. Maybe if their family reminded them or if they put it on their October calendar at the beginning of each new calendar year as a handy reminder for the Fall season.

One CDC study showed a 77% reduction of flu-related symptoms in adults over 50 who got the flu vaccine in 2011-2013.

Stay Well This Winter

Stay healthy this year by drinking lots of water and eating a variety of fresh nutrient rich food. If you need help, talk to a registered dietician. Make sure you get exercise and you stay up to date with your vaccinations, especially the flu shot. Winter doesn’t have to be miserable!

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