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Worried about Catching an Infection as a Senior Citizen? Here Are Some Preventive Tips

If you are a senior citizen who has to stay indoors this flu season in keeping with government advisories, life can get monotonous and worrisome. However, to keep yourself occupied and stay healthy, you must use this phase to practise the best home and personal hygiene habits.

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How to Protect Senior Citizens from Infections | Cleanipedia

If you are a person above 60, you may have lower immunity than younger members of your family, making it all the more important for you to follow preventive measures this season. Stay away from other family members as much as possible. Also, follow these useful preventive measures for yourself and your family. 

1) For Personal Hygiene

Practice good personal hygiene and ask all your family members to do the same. Make sure you wash your hands frequently using soap and water, or use an alcohol-based sanitiser such as those available from Lifebuoy. If you cook for yourself or your family, please wash your hand before and after making meals. Also, wash them before and after eating, after using the bathroom, etc. 

Every time you cough or sneeze, make sure you cover your mouth with a tissue or your elbow (if a tissue is not available). Discard the tissue in the dustbin.

If someone in the family is unwell, try and stay away from them as much as possible. If you have caregivers at home or hired help like ward boys or maids, ensure they too follow these hygiene habits before helping you.   

It also helps if shared spaces, like the living room, bathrooms or kitchen, are airy and well ventilated. 

2) For Surfaces 

Germs can travel up to 3 feet after a sneeze, spreading unwanted infections, and rest on different surfaces around the home. Hence, an important step towards protecting yourself is to ensure that all the surfaces in the room are cleaned and disinfected daily. Ask someone to help you, if needed. Surfaces that are touched frequently by you, such as tables, wheelchair, walker, spectacles, phone, books, medicine box, support handles, etc. should be cleaned and disinfected once a day. Also, high-touch common surfaces outside of your room like switches, door handles, tables, bath fittings, toilet seats, telephones, laptops, etc. that are also used by the rest of the family should be cleaned and disinfected too. 

All these surfaces can be cleaned with a regular household detergent and water. After cleaning, you can disinfect them for better hygiene. Use a suitable disinfectant, like a bleach-based (sodium hypochlorite) product such as Domex Floor Cleaner, which kills germs. Always test on a small hidden area and rinse to check compatibility first. Ask someone to help you clean and disinfect all surfaces.

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3) For Laundry

Not only surfaces, but clothes can also retain germs. A good wash is the simplest way to ensure your clothes are clean and germ-free. Washing clothes thoroughly with detergent is good enough to remove germs. Ask your family or caregiver to use a bleach (sodium hypochlorite) like Rin Ala for your sheets and clothes. Rin Ala being a sodium hypochlorite bleach is recommended for white clothes only and is not meant for coloured clothes. Remember to wear gloves if you’re handling bleach.

If you use a washing machine, clothes should be washed using the appropriate water temperature setting, in accordance with the directions on the labels of laundry or clothing items. Ensure your clothes are dried in the sun before they are folded and stored. 

4) Personal Household Items

It is best if you have separate plates, glasses, cups, spoons etc. for yourself. Do not use utensils that are also used by other family members or caregivers. This will help avoid spreading of germs along with food. Also, all these utensils and crockery should be thoroughly washed with a good dishwash detergent. For other household and personal items like your dentures, spectacles, spectacle cases, prayer bags, etc., use soap and water to disinfect them after each use.

Ask your family members to cooperate with you and help you with your chores.

Follow these steps to stay safe from infections this season. 

Originally published