If you’re over the age of 65, your aging immune system is already at risk, particularly between the months of October to May in the United States, which is also known as flu season. The flu can be deadly or harmful to anyone but can be particularly dangerous to certain populations, including the young and the old. A young immune system and an elderly immune system both have the disadvantage of not being able to fight off disease very well. This holds true for not just the flu; this also is true for colds and other types of conditions. Read on to learn more about how aging affects the immune system, what vaccinations you may need to help protect yourself, and how to keep your elderly immune system safe this winter (and all year long).
Elderly Immune System: At What Age Is Your Immune System the Strongest?
A strong immune system has more to do with health than with age. A person of any age can suffer from an autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes. Recent studies showed that the T cells of healthy adults of three different age groups (all younger than 65) responded nearly the same to viruses. There is, however, a notable and sharp decline in the elderly immune system. Immune system changes in the elderly occur to those over the age of 65. However, there are some things that seniors can do in order to boost their immunity.
Elderly Immune System: How Can Seniors Improve Their Immune System?
Age is merely a number if you take good care of your body and keep up with your medical appointments. When it comes to how to improve the immune system in the elderly, one of the best things to do is ensure you get your annual flu shot. Make sure you talk to your doctor before getting the flu vaccine (in other words, don’t go elsewhere for it), because there are different strains of the flu vaccine available for different age groups. In order to properly boost your elderly immune system (and also to prevent the flu!) you want to make sure you get the right vaccine. Also, depending on your age, you may also want the pneumococcal vaccine, so it’s best to get your physician’s advice. Other ways to boost your elderly immune system include:
- Eat a healthy diet. This likely goes without saying, but a healthy diet is linked directly to a healthy immune system. You can only get so much of your daily vitamins and nutrients from supplements.
- Ditch a sedentary lifestyle. Get as active as possible. Even if you have mobility restrictions, there are ways to get active. You can even find ways to get around your house better—such as using stair lifts—so you’re not on the couch as much.
- Lower stress levels. Stress can weaken the immune system, so try to lower stress in any way that you can.
- Maintain a healthy BMI. Having a body mass index in the overweight or obese range can put stress on your body and weaken your immune system.
- Quit smoking, and avoid overconsumption of alcohol. Both of these things can weaken your elderly immune system. If you’re still smoking, your physician can help you quit.
If you are wondering, “why do the elderly get sick easily,” very often, it is because of a weakened immune system. Keeping regular doctors’ appointments and following a few simple steps, like staying active, getting a flu shot, and eating healthier, can help boost your elderly immune system and can help you avoid colds and the flu.
If you need more information about elderly immune systems or would like to hear about mobility products that can be life-changing, such as stair lifts or wheelchair ramps, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and their patients or loved ones to live their best lives.