While spring may not be too far off in Calgary, the cold temperatures and unpredictable weather that often characterizes the final weeks of winter and the transition into spring can affect seniors’ bodies in numerous ways that impact their health.
The common cold often circulates around this time of year, and while everyone can catch a cold, the more vulnerable state of health in which seniors find themselves means that special care and attention need to be directed towards trying to prevent seniors from catching a cold, or at least towards managing their symptoms accordingly to help them get back to better health as soon as possible.
While there are ways to manage symptoms of a cold and minimize its effects on daily life, avoiding a cold all together is always the preferable option. Anticipating cold season and taking preventative measures can help protect seniors from colds.
- Wash Hands: Apart from environmental factors that affect the body, the circulation of colds occurs primarily through the spread of germs from person to person. While we cannot wash every surface that we come into contact with to ensure it is germ-free, we can wash our own hands frequently enough to clean away as many germs as possible throughout the day.
- Get Enough Sleep: Sleep gives the body the opportunity to heal, strengthen, and fight of illness and germs. Ensuring that you get enough sleep can help keep your body strong enough to keep colds at bay.
- Eat for Health: Eating lots of healthy foods that are rich in important nutrients helps the body ward off germs. Foods high in Vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, are famous for their cold-fighting power. Ginger, garlic, green veggies, tomatoes, and other nutrient-dense plant-foods can also help protect against germs or kill off the early stages of a cold before it gets too strong.
Once a senior catches a cold, there is no quick fix or cure that can instantly restore perfect health. That being said, there are measures that can be taken to minimize or relieve symptoms and make life a little easier until the cold has run its course.
- Rest: As previously mentioned, time spent sleeping is the body’s time to heal, recuperate, and fight off illnesses, so taking lots of down-time to rest, and making sure to get enough sleep can help seniors get over a cold more quickly.
- Hydrate: Hydration is imperative for health and wellbeing, and making sure to drink enough water is important always, but especially when the body is trying to fight off a cold. Having water available at all times and trying to get in the 2 recommended litres each day can help support the body’s healing process.
- Over-The-Counter Medications: Supplements such as Echinacea, other herbal remedies, and conventional medications are available from pharmacies or health stores that can help minimize symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, runny noses, congestion, headaches, and other common cold symptoms.
- Clear Sinuses: Congestion can be an uncomfortable symptom of a cold that causes consistent discomfort. Consuming spicy foods and hot beverages can help clear things out, as can using a humidifier or diffusing essential oils that help to clear airways.
Combatting the common cold can be a challenging task, especially with temperamental weather and the inevitable reality that germs are around. Implementing certain behaviours, measures, and practices intended to prevent or manage cold symptoms can, however, have a meaningful impact that helps to keep seniors in better health so they can enjoy their day-to-day lives.