Seniors need to take precautions against winter’s hazards

From seasonal illnesses to cold temperatures, winter is often hardest on senior citizens. Shoveling snow, walking on icy sidewalks and trying to prevent severe colds and the flu are particularly hard on those who may have age-related conditions or limited mobility.

Seniors who are age 65 and older are especially vulnerable to flu and are urged to get a flu vaccine as early in winter as possible.

According to Medline Plus, Michael Lucchesi, M.D., advises older citizens to avoid eating salty foods that may contribute to high blood pressure and heart problems, follow dietary restrictions and eat healthy diets. They should also arrange to have their prescriptions filled in advance of pick-up dates so the medications don’t run out during storm periods when they may not be able to get to a pharmacy.

Lucchesi, who heads emergency medicine at State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, notes that seniors with respiratory illnesses are especially sensitive to cold air, which can lead to lung spasms. In addition, when the elderly are outdoors they should dress warmly to limit the amount of cold exposure to skin, including their faces and necks, as a preventative step against developing hypothermia. Some medications can also cause the body to lose heat, Lucchesi warned.

Winter-related injuries and heart attacks from overexertion during snow shoveling is another hazard to the elderly. When walking on ice and snow outdoors, seniors should wear skid-proof boots and shoes, take small steps and hold onto railings when going down stairs and steep walkways.

To maximize bone health against the possibility of injuries from falls, Dr. Pinkus’ Sublingual Vitamin D-3 from Dr. Newton’s Naturals can be a great way to promote healthy bone density with 5,000 international units of one of the most effective and safe forms of vitamin D, called cholecalciferol. The formula also enhances memory and supports the immune system.