The winter season can bring about all kinds of health issues, particularly for those vulnerable people including the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions. As we age our bodies change and we become more susceptible to the effects of viruses and the cold weather. There are a number of reasons why this occurs.
Our immune systems start to function less effectively as we get older which is why we often find it harder to get fight off of germs and infections and seem to pick up colds more easily. This is why it is recommended that people over the age of 65 take up the offer of the free flu vaccination at their doctors. These vaccinations are a result of many Paid Clinical Trials that have taken place to assess the vaccinations usefulness and possible side effects.
As well as the flu vaccination there is also a pneumonia vaccination that can be requested by individuals that are eligible. Other hygiene measures such as washing your hands regularly and seeking advice from a pharmacist if you feel unwell is important during this time of year.
The reason why the elderly feel the cold more than others is due to the increased pressure that is put on the heart and circulatory system. When you are older your body has to work harder to keep you warm and they can be at increased effects of the fluctuating temperatures. When your body is exposed to cold temperatures for a period of time your blood starts to thicken, and this increases your blood pressure which in turn increases the risk of strokes and heart attacks occurring. One of the best ways to combat this is to ensure that you wrap up warm if you have to leave the house – lots of smaller layers is better than one large thick jumper and remember to wear thick socks, a hat, gloves and a scarf to help keep all of your extremities warm as well. Keeping your house nice and warm will help with the temperature indoors and where possible the temperature should be around 21 degrees Celsius in the room that you will spend most of your day in, such as your living room and 18 degrees Celsius in your bedroom. You can try to keep yourself warm by moving around and making sure that you do not sit for longer than an hour at a time. If mobility is an issue, simply stretching your legs and arms out whilst you are sat in the chair will help to keep your circulation moving.