Avoiding the Flu and Other Thoughts on Healthy Living

Avoiding the Flu and Other Thoughts on Healthy Living

November 15, 2017

To prepare residents for the upcoming “flu season,” The Saybrook at Haddam hosted a free flu shot clinic as well as an informational session (hosted with Encompass Home Health) earlier this month.  Here are some key pointers from these events that our wellness team would like to share to help seniors (and everyone, really!) avoid the flu and build a healthy immune system this winter:

  • If you haven’t yet, please get a flu shot. If you missed our clinic, contact us to set up a time to receive your shot.  Or, ask your doctor or pharmacist for one.  This is such an important step that many drug stores offer the shot for free, and most insurance plans cover costs (but be sure to check first).


  • Stay as clean as you can by washing hands for at least 20 seconds and scrubbing under fingernails and by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. To be safe, carry an alcohol-based cleaner so you are prepared if you can’t get to soap and water.  Influenza viruses can generally survive on surfaces from 2-24 hours – which leaves plenty of time for germs to spread.
  • Eat a balanced diet that includes green, leafy vegetables, low-fat yogurt with active cultures, and fatty fish to help reach your proper vitamin D intake. According to WedMD, vitamin D is an immune booster that also helps build strong bones (to avoid osteoporosis, bone pain, and bone loss), and even helps prevent cancer. It’s certainly a good “weapon” to have in the fight against the flu.
  • Stay active by following a regular exercise routine such as walking three times a DSC0079_Exercise_thumbweek (perhaps by joining our popular “walking club”) or attending one of the different exercise classes offered at The Saybrook at Haddam. Exercise does more than keep you fit and trim; it also keeps inflammation and chronic disease at bay, reduces stress, and accelerates white blood cell circulation which helps the body fight the common cold better.
  • Get a good night’s sleep of about seven or eight hours. Less than that can make you more likely to get sick when you contact cold viruses.
  • Drink plenty of water or, better yet, drink green tea which has wonderfully high levels of antioxidants (flavonoids). Reduce alcohol consumption which can reduce important dendritic cells and increase your exposure to bacterial and viral infections. This might be a bit of a challenge during the socially busy holiday season, but it is worth the effort!

The Saybrook at Haddam’s wellness team works with residents to help them achieve and healthy and active lifestyle – so they are best prepared to face flu season or any other health concern throughout the year.

nurse owlWe also believe education is one of the best ways to promote good health – which is why we started our new monthly “Ask the Nurse” event.  The October theme was understanding the difference between “DNR” and a living will, and the November session focused on Cerebral Vascular Accidents (a.k.a. strokes).  Please be on the watch for future events – and if you have a topic suggestion, please do not hesitate to contact us.

For a private tour of The Saybrook at Haddam or its Safe Harbor memory care neighborhood, please fill out the form below or contact David Downey at 860-345-3779.

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