5 Things Everyone Needs to Know to Protect Yourself From This Year’s Flu

Last year’s flu season claimed the lives of more than 1,600 people in just one week while thousands more were hospitalized. It is obvious that the flu is nothing to joke about. As such, it is important that you know what to do to protect yourself to decrease the likelihood that you will catch the flu this season. The following strategies will help you stay healthy.

5. Immune system boost

Your immune system is the last line of defense against the flu virus. That said, there is no need to worry as there are a couple things you can to maintain or boost your immune system. Getting enough sleep, for instance, helps your body make and circulate much needed immune cells. For the largest possible boost to your immune system, make sure you get the recommended minimum seven to eight hours of sleep each night.

Another way to boost your immune system is to exercise daily. Doing so supports optimal circulation. Circulation promotes the dissemination of immune cells through out the body. Interestingly, research has shown that individuals who exercised after receiving the flu shot experienced an almost doubling of flu antibodies one month later.

Finally, engage in activities that promote relaxation. It turns out the when your body experiences stress, white blood cells actually decrease, making it difficult to ward off the flu virus.

4. Good foods

Research is still needed to determine which nutrients can support your immune system. However, a well-balanced diet is still recommended and is thought to play an important role in maintaining your immune system. Incorporating whole foods your diet is an excellent way to achieve this.

3. Clean surfaces

In addition to using alcohol-based sanitizers for your hands, it is important to keep the surfaces around you free of the flu virus and for cleaning. Make sure to use alcohol-based wipes on every surfaces that people touch. This includes the obvious, like door handles and rails, and the not so obvious, like a copy machine, for instance. Experts recommend disinfecting surfaces every few hours when in close quarters with someone that may be sick.

2. Distance

It is extremely important to stay clear of anyone infected with the flu. Current research has shown that the flu can spread through coughing, sneezing, and by the seemingly harmless act of exhaling. If you think you are sick, give others plenty of personal space when interacting with them, remembering it is possible to be contagious without showing any symptoms.

If you are exposed to someone coughing or sneezing when you are out and about, it is a good idea to use a scarf to cover your mouth and nose to help minimize inhaling the flu virus.

Additionally, make every effort to keep your hands away from your face. Germs on your fingers can easily enter through the mucous membranes around your mouth, nose, and eyes.

1. Flu shots

While it is true that the vaccine is not 100 percent effective, it does prevent millions of people from getting the flu each year while also preventing millions of deaths. It also lessons the severity of symptoms if you do contract the flu. An extra benefit is that it helps to protect the more vulnerable individuals: people with compromised immune systems, the elderly, and infants. It does this by decreasing the likelihood that you will pass the flu to others.

For those not comfortable with having to get a shot, a nasal vaccine is an option. In fact, the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that due to the addition of another A strain this season, it is thought that the nasal vaccine may actually be more effective.

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