ward off the influenza

Prevent the Flu: 9 Incredibly Smart Tips

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The dreaded flu season is upon us. Whether you’re trying to avoid it or just trying to brace yourself for when it inevitably hits, there are some things you can do to help lessen your chances of getting sick. Check out these 9 tips to prevent the flu!

How Contagious is the Flu?

Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a highly contagious respiratory illness that mainly affects the respiratory system. The flu is typically spread through contact with respiratory secretions, such as saliva or mucus droplets, from an infected person. The germs can also be spread through contact with contaminated surfaces, such as doorknobs or countertops.

The flu is most commonly transmitted during the winter months when people are more likely to be indoors and in close contact with one another. It tends to peak around October and progress as the months get colder. Of course, you can get any illness at any time.

Flu symptoms include fever, chills, coughing, sore throat, body aches, runny nose or stuffy nose, sneezing, headaches, and fatigue. Most people recover from the flu within a week or two, but some people may develop complications such as pneumonia.

Smart Tips to Prevent the Flu

The flu is a nasty virus that can knock you out for days. Here are some tips to help you prevent catching the flu this winter.

Get Vaccinated

According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the single most effective way to prevent getting the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Since the influenza virus mutates, the flu shot must be taken yearly.  The vaccine is usually available in the fall, so be sure to get vaccinated as soon as it becomes available.

The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. There are two types of vaccines available: the trivalent vaccine, which protects against three strains of influenza, and the quadrivalent vaccine, which protects against four strains.

Wash Your Hands

Washing your hands is one of the best ways to prevent the spread of infection. Be sure to wash your hands often, especially during the winter months when cold and flu viruses are more prevalent.

Use soap and water and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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Avoid Touching Your Face

Another way to prevent the spread of infection is to avoid touching your face. The flu virus can enter your body through your nose, mouth, or eyes. So, it’s important to keep your hands away from your face as much as possible. If you must touch your face, be sure to wash your hands first.

Avoid Large Crowds

Avoiding crowds can often be difficult, but it is crucial during the flu season. If you must be in a crowd, try to keep a distance of at least six feet from other people. This will help to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that can contain the flu virus.

Keep in mind that the flu can spread quickly in confined spaces such as schools, workplaces, nursing homes, and long-term care facilities.

Wear a Mask

If you have a weakened immune system, consider wearing a mask whenever you are in a public place. Masks not only protect you from getting sick, but they help to protect others from getting sick as well.

Strengthen Your Immune System

One of the best ways to avoid getting sick is to have a strong immune system. There are a few things you can do to help keep your immune system strong and healthy.

First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to the National Institutes of Health, adults need between 7 and 8 hours of sleep each night. Getting enough sleep gives your body a chance to rest and repair itself.

Second, eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains provides the nutrients your body needs to function properly. In addition, try to limit your intake of sugar and saturated fat, as these can weaken the immune system.

Finally, exercise regularly. Exercise helps to circulate the lymphatic system, which carries infection-fighting cells throughout the body. By following these simple tips, you can help keep your immune system strong and reduce your risk of getting sick.

Take Supplements to Prevent The Flu

Another way that you can boost your immune system is to take supplements. Vitamin C, zinc, and echinacea are all effective in boosting immunity and helping to prevent the flu.

  • Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage. It also helps the body to produce white blood cells, which are key in fighting off infection.
  • Zinc: Zinc is another important nutrient for immunity. It helps to keep white blood cells functioning properly, and it has been shown to reduce the duration of cold symptoms.
  • Echinacea: Echinacea is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to treat colds and flu. It helps to boost immunity by stimulating the production of white blood cells.
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Be sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements!

Drink Plenty of Water

Staying hydrated is important for overall health, and it can also help to prevent the flu. When you are well-hydrated, your mucous membranes are better able to trap viruses and bacteria. In addition, drinking plenty of water helps to thin mucus so that it can be more easily removed from the body.

So, be sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, during the flu season. And if you do start to feel sick, increase your fluid intake even more.

Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

One of the most important things you can do to prevent the spread of infection is to clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. This includes door knobs, light switches, countertops, and phones.

Be sure to use a cleaner that is effective against viruses, such as bleach, alcohol, or Clorox wipes.  In addition, make sure to wash your hands after coming into contact with any surface that may be contaminated.

Stock Up on Flu Supplies

Although you may do everything in your power to prevent the flu, you still may end up getting it before the season is over. So, make sure you stock up on flu supplies before you get sick! Here’s what you need:

Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. If you have chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, problems with your lungs, or a weakened immune system, it’s important to talk to your doctor as soon as symptoms begin so you can get early treatment for the flu.

Get Early Treatment For the Flu

Early treatment is the key to recovery from the flu. The sooner you start taking antiviral medication, the better your chances are of avoiding serious complications.

Antivirals work best when started within two days of feeling sick. There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended for use this season: oseltamivir (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®), zanamivir (Relenza®), and peramivir (Rapivab®).

These are prescription medications (in pill, liquid, or inhaled powder form) that fight against the flu by keeping influenza viruses from reproducing in your body and may shorten how long you feel sick by one or two days. Antiviral drugs work best when started soon after symptoms begin but may still offer some benefit if begun later (within 24-48 hours).

Final Word

These are just a few simple tips that can help you avoid getting sick this flu season. By following these tips, you can help to keep yourself and your family healthy and safe. Check out my post Influenza: 9 Early Symptoms of the Flu for more information. Thanks again for being prepared for the unexpected before you need to be, you’ll be glad you are prepared. May God bless your family, please stay well. Linda

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6 Comments

  1. Coconut water is very good for hydrating/rehydrating the body and can often be tolerated better than Gatorade or Powerade when you have nausea. It has electrolytes and antioxidants, but doesn’t have dyes.

    Clean your phones and also your computer keyboards, both at home and at work. They are filthy…

  2. Great tips! I just recovered from a really bad cold. Thankfully it wasn’t flu, but it really knocked me out. First one I’ve had like that in 4-5 years.
    Have a new toothbrush and a new chapstick on hand for after you recover. Toss out your old ones once you’re feeling better.
    Take lots of proboitics, too. 🙂

  3. While I don’t have the flu, both my husband and I picked up bad colds over the holidays. I have been cleaning my remotes like crazy. We found out that we were out of cough syrup, (we are trying not to buy for one month, to see how we do) so we did had to pick some up, and of course a prescription. Even sick we are eating better than we ever have. Everything has to be made from scratch, so Allrecipes is my best friend.

    I use hand sanitizer between hand washings. I also put fractionated coconut oil into my liquid hand soap, so that my hands won’t turn into alligators hands.

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