Influenza—more commonly known as the flu—is an infectious disease that causes headaches, fevers, persistent coughing, and/or a sore throat. In some serious cases, influenza can even lead to death. The peak flu season is from fall to late spring, so it’s important to take steps to prevent getting sick.
How does one get the flu?
In order to know how to avoid the flu, you must first understand how you get it in the first place. Influenza is a virus, which means that you can become infected by touching an object that has been contaminated, or by direct contact with a person currently infected.
Take the below precautions to keep yourself safe this flu season:
1. Get the Flu Shot
The CDC recommends people should get the flu shot around the end of October. It is your best line of defense against influenza. As you may know, the flu shot changes and is updated each year. This is done because the virus adapts and mutates, so the shot from last year may no longer be effective for the following year. If you continue to receive the vaccine, your body will grow antibodies against each strain, and be able to fight them off as they come. If you don’t like shots, you can also receive the nasal spray, which is approved for people ages 2-49. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, there’s still time—the peak flu season goes until the end of March, so take every precaution and drop by to get yours today.
2. Wash your hands
While this seems obvious, washing your hands with soap and water is an important first step in protecting yourself against harmful viruses. Don’t just use hand sanitizer, but be sure to wash with warm soap and water for twenty seconds, lathering up to your elbow, so the germs are washed away.
3. Clean off all surfaces
Viruses can live on hard surfaces longer than on soft surfaces or hands. So, make sure you wipe down all surfaces with disinfectant wipes or spray. Your cell phones and keyboards should be included, as they carry many germs that should be wiped clean. When traveling, bring travel antibacterial wipes to clean off your seat and general area. These small steps could the difference between you getting sick or continuing to feel healthy.
4. Take vitamins and minerals during peak seasons
Help give your immune system a boost by taking vitamins. For the flu, you might especially want to take vitamins D, C, B6, Magnesium, and Zinc. Taking these supplements is not a guarantee that you won’t become sick, but they help. In addition to vitamins, you should make sure you’re well hydrated. Water can help your body bounce back quicker and clear out toxins.
Allow your body to recharge and rest. Being run down and tired can make you more susceptible to viruses and infection. Take care of your body and try to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.