Flu season in the United States begins as early as October and can last through May but it tends to peak out anywhere from November to February depending on your location. The flu is a highly contagious respiratory illness which is caused by a strain of the flu virus. It is a virus that you can’t predict because each year it varies in length, severity, and timing. I remember in 2007, I caught a strain of the flu and I was miserable for a few days. Today, I wanted to share with you 12 ways to prevent colds and flu this fall/winter.
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Anyone who is 6 months or older, should get the flu vaccine or nasal spray as soon as it is available. By getting a flu vaccine, you are allowing your body to build immunity to the flu strands that were included in the shot. Your immunity helps provide you with protection against any of flu strands in the vaccination. Check with your doctor or health care provider to determine if you are a good candidate for getting the flu vaccine. The CDC recommends that seniors, children, and people who have chronic illnesses to get the flu shot.
Go to the Doctor Immediately if You Suspect the Flu
If you suspect that you do have the flu, go to the doctor immediately. The doctor can swab your nose and easily determine if you have the flu. Getting early treatment is recommended so that you can begin taking anti-viral drugs within 24 to 48 hours after you symptoms begin.
Wash your Hands Frequently
Handwashing is super easy. Plus, it is one thing that you can easily do to help prevent you from the flu, colds, and other illnesses. Clean hands can help prevent the spread of infection from one person to another. Wet your hands and wash thoroughly for 20 seconds minimum. If you are washing your hands constantly, make sure that you are using lotion to help keep them from drying out.
Use Hand Sanitizer
If you can’t wash your hands frequently, you should at least use hand sanitizer as long as your hands aren’t physically dirty. Alcohol based hand sanitizers can reduce the number of germs on your hands.
Avoid Touching your Face, Nose, and Mouth
Try to avoid touching your face, nose, and mouth whenever possible. If you have to touch these areas, go wash your hands immediately afterwards. This is how germs are spread.
Stay Home When Your Sick
Always stay home when your sick when you know that you are contagious or have a fever. Going to work sick not only affects your job but you can easily infect other people. Also, pushing through the workday may cause you to prolong your own recovery. Also, if you know that someone is sick, do your best to avoid them.
Get Plenty of Sleep
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Make sure that you get plenty of rest each night. Most healthy adults need 7 to 9 hours a sleep each night. Getting plenty of rest helps protect your immune system which helps prevent you from getting sick. Plus, getting plenty of sleep at night also protects you from developing other health problems like diabetes, heart disease, or other health related problems.
Did you know that exercise can help prevent getting sick? Regular, vigorous exercise helps increase circulation and blood flow throughout your body. When your body is working properly, you immune system is able to work more efficiently and fight off illness. However, overdoing it can have the opposite reaction. Here are a few examples of exercises that can help reduce your chances of getting sick: bicycling, walking 20 to 30 minutes a day, playing golf, or going to the gym every other day.
Manage your Stress
I realize that not all stress can be avoided but there are a few things that you can do to reduce your stress. Check out my ideas on how to reduce your stress here.
Make sure that you are eating plenty of healthy foods. Eating healthy helps protect your immune system which is responsible for preventing and fighting off illnesses.
Drink Plenty of Fluids
Staying hydrated allows your body to constant flush out harmful toxins. If you struggle with drinking plenty of fluids, try flavoring the water with fruit such as lemon or lime.
Use a Tissue
Always use a tissue when you have to sneeze or cough. This will prevent germs from sticking to your hands or getting all over your belongings. After you are through with your tissue, immediately throw it in the trash. Don’t set it on your desk or continue to hold it. Instead, grab a new tissue every single time.
Getting sick is never fun. Use these 12 ways to prevent colds and flu this fall/winter. Also, you can continue to use these tips year round to prevent illness so that you stay healthy.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
Do you follow these tips during cold and flu season?