Senior Health Tips for Autumn and Winter

This summer we’ve experienced record heat throughout the country, which means as temperatures cool down and snow eventually falls we’ll be even less ready to handle the shift in weather. Don’t let the final bouts of warm air fool you – autumn and winter are on their way, and when it’s cold outside it’s more important than ever to take needed safety precautions.

Protect Against the Flu

Flu-season begins right as autumn arrives. Be sure to cover your nose whenever you sneeze, and sneeze into a tissue or handkerchief if possible.

Wash your hands regularly: wash before every meal, and again at nighttime if you don’t take a shower or bath. Consult your doctor and ask if you should get the seasonal flu vaccination – everyone’s health varies, but if you’re in good health a vaccination can ward off illness.

Avoid Falls in the Ice and Snow

Some parts of the country sit under a blanket of snow all winter. With snow, of course, come icy walkways that can lead to slips and falls. To avoid slipping on your driveway or front path, clear away snow and salt your walkways in the evening.

If you aren’t able to salt walkways yourself, hire someone or get a family member to help. Wear boots or shoes with non-slip soles to prevent slipping. Be sure to replace the rubber tip before it’s worn smooth if you use a cane to walk.

Stay Aware of Carbon Monoxide

If you’re using a fireplace or gas appliance to stay warm, carbon monoxide can slowly accumulate in your home if the area isn’t properly ventilated. Carbon monoxide is odorless and deadly, so take the necessary precautions to keep the air clean in your home.

Invest in a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and place it near your fireplace. Crack a window when using a kerosene stove for cooking. If you start experiencing a headache, blurred vision, nausea, dizziness, or weakness, get into fresh air immediately and seek medical care.

Combat Hypothermia

Never allow yourself to get too cold in the winter. Layer up and wear thermal undergarments. Don’t stay outside too long, and if you do be sure to wear your winter essentials: boots, mittens, a hat, a coat, and a scarf. Keep the temperature in your home higher than 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Always stay dry, inside or out. If your clothes become wet or you’re soaked when you get in from the rain or snow, change into some dry, warm clothing. While dryness is important, consider investing in a humidifier if you have a habit of experiencing sinus problems from winter dryness.

Drive Safe

Be vigilant when driving in winter conditions. Have your windshield wipers, tires, and antifreeze checked by a mechanic in the autumn before it begins to snow.

Always avoid driving on icy roads, even if it means you have to double back and be late to your destination. Keep your car stocked with a windshield scraper, shovel, blanket, flashlight, booster cables, a first aid kit, extra warm clothes, and rock salt if your wheels get stuck.

By following these tips you can reduce your risk of illness or injury and stay cozy all throughout the autumn and winter.