As the colder months set in, so does flu season. According to the CDC, flu season starts in October and usually peaks between December and February. Colder weather keeps more people inside and in more confined spaces. Homes, malls, restaurants, and other small spaces are prime environments for germs and viruses to spread. Because of this, 5%-20% of the U.S. population suffers from the flu each year.
Though it’s hard to avoid getting sick during cold season, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself. Keep reading for 7 tips to minimize your risk of catching the flu.
- Wash Your Hands
From nurses to teachers to secretaries, clean hands are your first defense for fighting against the flu. Washing your hands removes germs that may cause the common cold and other infections. Hand washing is especially important if you are around someone who is infected. It’s best to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. Be sure to thoroughly scrub using warm water and soap.
If you’re unable to use a sink, hand sanitizer also kills viruses and other germs. Keeping a pocket-sized bottle is ideal for when you’re on-the-go.
- Keep Your Environment Clean
No one likes cleaning but we all know that germs and viruses linger. Use sanitizing wipes to clean your desk, doorknobs, light switches, and other shared areas. Being hyper-vigilant about cleanliness may be your saving grace during flu season. Keeping a clean environment is especially important if you share space with an infected person. Hospitals, schools, and office spaces are prime locations for germs to spread and linger.
Be sure to use a wipe that kills viruses. You may also opt for aerosols that will also keep your environment clean and germ-free.
- Live Healthily
Looking after your own health, especially during cold season is especially important. Your lifestyle choices can greatly impact your health, including your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. A healthy lifestyle should include:
- Eating a quality diet
- Drinking plenty of water
- Not smoking
- Avoiding heavy drinking
- Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each day
- Daily exercise
During cold season, it’s also important to keep your allergies controlled. Allergies cause your upper respiratory tract to become inflamed. This leaves you more vulnerable to viruses. Allergies plus the flu sounds like a horrible combination, so be sure to take good care of yourself!
- Take Supplements
Even if you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, you may still be deficient in certain vitamins and minerals. During cold season, it’s important to take in plenty of vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D. But, not all supplements are equal. If you’re looking for high quality ingredients, check out Complete Natural Products. The company offers a wide variety of general health products that can boost your immune system during the flu season.
- Stay Home If You’re Sick
No matter how dedicated you are to your job, if you’re sick, it’s best to stay home. It’s also wise to stay home if you’re caring for a sick child or partner. This way you can minimize the risk of spreading your illness to those around you. Take the day off to rest and recuperate. A hot bath, tea with lemon and honey, and a good nap can go a long way for helping you to heal more quickly.
- Don’t Touch Your Mouth, Nose, or Eyes
Your mouth, nose, and eyes are hotspots for germs. When you sneeze, try to use a tissue, otherwise sneeze into your elbow. Sneezing or coughing into your hand can cause you to unintentionally spread germs. If you’re suffering from symptoms of the cold, it’s important to avoid close contact with others. You’ll also want to avoid inadvertently spreading your germs from your hands.
- Get the Flu Vaccine
While the flu vaccine isn’t 100% effective because of various flu strains, it’s still very effective. In fact each year, the vaccine is modified to protect against the strains that are expected to impact the population. The vaccine is available for children as well as adults and can be administered via an injection or a nasal spray. The CDC especially recommends the flu vaccine for high risk people, including those over the age of 65, pregnant women, young children, as well as people with certain health conditions such as lung disease, asthma, heart disease, and diabetes.
Avoiding the flu may seem impossible, but there are ways to lessen your chances of getting infected. Remember, the flu is a serious health condition that puts thousands of people in the hospital each year. Some even die from the infection. Keep these tips in mind to take care of yourself during flu season and all year long. Let us know if you found this article helpful. Leave a comment in the section below.