This flu season is proving itself to be one of the most dangerous and deadly seasons on record. You’ve probably heard countless co-workers and friends share their flu stories. In fact, the very thought of the 3 to 5 days of coughing, aches, and fever might even tempt you to issue a self-imposed quarantine until May! Of course, you know that’s not realistic, but what can you do?
Here are 7 tips to help you conquer the flu season.
Drink Plenty of Water
I bet you’ve probably heard this advice before. Water seems to be the advice issued by the medical community for everything from sinusitis to weight loss. Indeed, drinking water is the healthiest thing you can do for your health!
Keeping your body well-hydrated boosts your immune system in a two-pronged defense. First, it flushes toxins from your body. Second, it adds vital oxygen to your body because the water delivers the oxygen from the water into your cells. This makes strong, healthy cells that can resist disease.
What if you’ve drunk your fill of water but you’re still starting to feel flu symptoms? Continue to drink water.
In the case that you do develop the flu, water intake is of paramount importance. With the flu comes a fever. A fever causes you to lose fluid rapidly. At the minimum, this can cause your flu symptoms, such as aches and headache, to intensify. At the most, it can cause extremely dangerous dehydration, which is normally how the flu can become a killer.
Take Care of Your Gut
You probably don’t give much thought to gut health. However, a healthy gut helps you to fight disease and infections and should be a year-round strategy for health.
Board Certified Integrative Physician, Dr. Edison de Mello, urges, “By maintaining a healthy balance of gut flora, you will be able to fight infections more efficiently. Remember that over 75 percent of your immune system’s vital processes occur in your gut. So make it strong.”
Strengthening your gut to help fight infections, as well as the flu, should be a daily priority. Increase your intake of probiotic-rich foods. These include fermented vegetables and fruits, such as kim chi.
Amp Up The Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a long-respected preventative measure to take during cold and flu season.
Without Vitamin C, your body can’t repair tissue, produce collagen, or form blood vessels. Additionally, Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant and aids in the fight against free radicals that attack your body on a daily basis.
Free radicals are molecules that develop as your body digests food or through tobacco smoke, pollution, or radiation. When your body is strengthened against these free radicals, your immune system is better able to fight off the flu before you fall ill.
You can get Vitamin C through supplements. However, it’s even better for your overall health to increase your servings of healthy fruits and vegetables. So opt for flavorful foods, rich with Vitamin C. These include fruits, berries, leafy greens, tomatoes, cabbage, and sweet potatoes.
Get Enough Sleep
Today’s adults are more sleep-deprived than ever before. With smartphones, we are constantly connected to work…even off-hours. We have to meet demands of children, family commitments, and finances. It’s no wonder that we are not able to “turn off” and get a good night’s sleep!
During flu season, it’s especially important to get 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night.
At night, when your body is at rest, your immune system can do its job the most effectively. As you sleep, your body is regenerating, oxygenating, and restoring itself. When you sleep for only short periods of time, this work is interrupted so you don’t get the full benefit.
Make it a priority to get sleep. In fact, you can even add it to your planner and set that smartphone with a pop-up reminder to treat yourself!
Frequent Hand Washing and Sanitizing]
Frequently wash or sanitize your hands to help keep yourself free of the flu. Flu germs can live on hard surfaces such as doorknobs, pens or pencils, and furniture long after they are transmitted.
Flu germs are transmitted through coughing or sneezing. Droplets land on those surfaces and just stay put until they are cleaned.
Washing your hands with soap and hot water will remove the germs from your hands. If you don’t have access to water, an alcohol-gel sanitizer will also do the trick. The key is in he high frequency of killing these germs during flu season to keep yourself well.
Get A Flu Shot
One of the top ways to avoid the influenza virus is to get a flu shot every season.
You’re most likely around people every day. Pay attention for a day and watch how often you hear a sneeze or a cough or see someone wipe their nose. Observe if they are covering their mouth or nose and if they sanitize their hands afterward.
You will be shocked at the lack of hygiene of many of your close friends, family members and colleagues!
Because you can’t stay home the entire flu season, the flu vaccine is the best overall way to prevent the spread of the virus.
Avoid Contact With Flu-Infected People
It’s certainly annoying when people come to work or send their kids to school sick! The reality is that some people may not have the income to support staying home sick, child care to keep their children home, or think they just have a common cold.
Keep distance from people who are infected with the flu. Skip the handshakes and friendly pats on the back until after the bug has run its course. Use disinfectant wipes to wipe down items you share with them, such as faucets or phones. Try to keep physical distance in case they don’t cover their mouth when they cough.
In conclusion, don’t fear the flu season! Yes, it is tempting to stay home and avoid the flu altogether. But these 7 tips will help you navigate the flu season in a far more practical way. Stay well!