Seniors and the Common Cold A cold doesn’t feel “common” at all when it arrives at your door step with all its baggage. Unfortunately, the facts don’t lie; you are more than likely going to catch two or three colds every single year. You already know that there is no cure for the flu or even the common cold. The plan is to survive the onslaught, and to make sure it doesn’t morph into something worse. Bronchitis, strep throat and pneumonia are not unfamiliar to you. Nobody likes being sick but a vulnerable senior with red eyes, a runny nose, and a wracking cough is a pitiful sight. The saving grace is that is you have more time to take care of yourself than you did a few years ago. Still, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have places to go and things to do. I could tell you to avoid crowds, but we all know that isn’t going to happen. Unless you live in a bubble you are going to be exposed to cold and flu germs. A healthy lifestyle is the best defense: • Keep current with your vaccinations • Eat a well-balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids • Walk at least 20 minutes a day and get plenty of rest • Good hygiene: Wash long and often What are you going to do when a scratchy throat, runny nose, and a cough catches up with you? Stay home. You are highly contagious and you are sick. • Rest • Stay hydrated: soups, juicy fruits and water • Ease muscle aches and pains with Tylenol or Ibuprofen (following dosage recommendations) • Chicken soup and honey really are good for you so knock yourself out. A tsp of honey three times a day is a good cough suppressant, will soothe a sore throat, and makes a cup of tea taste marvelous. • Gargle with salt water to relieve irritated throat Home remedies are less apt to have side effects than other measures; be sure to check with a pharmacist to learn the safest products for you (factoring in your health and medications) if you want to go that way. Check with your doctor if symptoms worsen or don’t improve, but be aware that cold symptoms can hang around for up to two weeks.