Time for a flu shot
October is the ideal month to get your flu shot so that it will last through the upcoming flu season (November through April/May). For people 65 and older, an inactivated vaccine called Fluzone High-Dose is available and covered by Medicare. It contains four times the level of antigen needed to provoke an immune response than is found in standard-dose flu vaccines. In one study, this high dose vaccine was found to be 24.2 percent more effective in preventing flu in older adults than the standard-dose vaccine. You can get the shot at your doctor’s office or local pharmacy. With Covid-19 lurking, it’s more important than ever to get your flu shot.
Take an “awe walk”
An interesting new study reported in the New York Times says consciously watching for small wonders in the world around you during an ordinary walk could amplify the mental health benefits of the stroll.
In the study, those who took a fresh look at their surroundings during weekly walks felt more upbeat and hopeful in general than walkers who did not. While findings are subjective, they could indicate that awe walks could be a simple way to combat malaise and worry.
Feets, don’t fail me now
It’s easy to neglect our feet but as we age, chronic foot pain and common foot problems can increasingly limit mobility. A Harvard Health report lists five tips:
- Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight puts greater force on your feet with each step.
- Wear good shoes. Wearing high heels or tight shoes now and then won’t cause lasting damage but for everyday wear, invest in supportive, comfortable shoes.
- Moisturize your feet. Skin on the feet gets thinner and drier as we age. Callused feet can crack and bleed. Rub a thick moisturizing lotion after your shower (but not between the toes).
- Practice good foot hygiene. Wash and dry your feet thoroughly; cut nails straight across and use a pumice stone to remove calluses. If you wear nail polish, let the nails breathe a few days in between pedicures.
- Stretch your feet. Stretching the top and bottoms of your feet can treat and prevent foot pain. Add in ankle rolls, and don’t forget the Achilles’ tendon.
Best shoes for older adults
Feet change as we age—they can get wider and longer (as much as an inch) from weight gain or stretched tendons and ligaments. That means get rid of your old shoes as they lose cushioning and support over time. To be on the safe side, replace everyday shoes yearly. Indoors, always wear shoes but not flip flops or slippers—it’s easy to trip in them.
Extra weight in 60s linked to brain thinning
Having a bigger waistline and a high body mass index (BMI) in your 60s may be linked with greater signs of brain aging years later, according to a study published in the professional journal Neurology. The study suggests that these obesity-related factors may accelerate brain aging by at least a decade, according to researchers at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. People with bigger weights and higher BMI were more likely to have thinning in the cortex area of the brain.
AA vs. other approaches
For a long time, researchers were unsure if Alcoholics Anonymous worked better than other approaches in treating people with alcohol use disorder. The evidence is now in—an updated systematic review of 27 studies involving over 10,000 participants published by the Cochrane Collaboration found AA leads to increased rates and lengths of abstinence compared with other common treatments. Alcoholics Anonymous is often paired with other kinds of treatment and the new findings clearly show treatment supported by A.A. is superior to treatment without A.A. In the United States, alcohol is a larger killer than other drugs and accounts for the majority of all addiction treatment cases.
You might be wrong about having penicillin allergy
New research coming out of the UGA College of Pharmacy shows that what some people think was an allergic reaction to penicillin was, in fact, just a side effect. Pharmacy students, under the direction of Christopher M. Bland, a clinical associate professor, interviewed patients who had listed a penicillin allergy on their medical records. Using the one-page questionnaire, Bland was immediately able to reduce by 20 percent, the number of those interviewed who thought they were allergic. More than 30 million people in the US think they’re allergic to penicillin, costing millions of dollars every year in added health care costs.
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