Staying Healthy During Flu Season

This time of year, everyone’s got a sniffle, cough, or worse - the dreaded flu bug! These viruses have evolved to be highly resistant to efforts to contain them. While we can’t prevent the disease completely, we can help lower the risk of spreading it around. Here are 6 ways to beat the flu this year.

1) Get a Flu Shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting a yearly flu vaccination as the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctor's visits and missed work and school, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.

2) Wash your hands

Regular hand-washing is the first line of defense. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before meals, and after contact with someone who might be ill. If your job entails lots of public contact, take regular hand-washing breaks. Scrub for 20 seconds with soap and warm water. If you can’t get to soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

3) Practice good self-care

Your immune system needs energy to keep your body free of disease. That means getting adequate sleep and proper nutrition. A good night’s sleep is especially important for preventing the spread of infectious diseases. Eating a diet rich in vitamin C can also strengthen your immune system. Citrus is a great source, as are leafy greens.

4) DAB - destroy all bacteria

“Dabbing,” involves tucking your nose into your elbow. It’s the most sanitary way to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough. Covering your mouth with your hands doesn’t do much since you’re going to touch other things with your hands. Your elbow, though, doesn’t see nearly as much contact.

5) Practice self-quarantine

If you are sick, stay home. Same with sick kids. No one likes missing work or school, but the alternative is even more widespread illness. Staying home will also give you time and rest to recover faster, leading to more productivity when you go back. Always wait 24 hours after a fever has broken before returning to work. There’s nothing heroic about “toughing it out” while getting others sick.

If you can’t stay home, at least take steps to prevent diseases from spreading. Avoid prolonged contact with anyone. Wash your hands, and avoid touching things other people regularly touch. Warn others that you’re feeling sick so they can keep a safe distance.

6) Avoid crowds

Wherever lots of people gather, illnesses can follow. If possible, avoid crowded public spaces this time of year.  If you’re entertaining or traveling, double down on good hygiene habits!


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