You are feeling tired, run down and hot. You have got runny nose, cough, and headache. Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by various strains of the influenza virus.
Though the strains change from year to year, the all-too-familiar symptoms typically remain the same. Though the flu is typically mild and treatable at home, it does have the potential to escalate to something that is life-threatening. EHC brings in a few simple measures for staying healthy and protecting yourself from the flu this season.
Get plenty of sleep to restore your energy each day, giving your body a fighting chance against germs.
Regular exercise will help keep you strong and healthy all year long. As a bonus, it may cut your risk of getting the flu and help your body respond better to a flu shot.
Managing your stress will help keep your mind and body in a better place. In fact, minimizing stress and your reactions to it is a key defense against disease.
Plenty of fluids & fresh foods
Eating nutrient-packed fruits and veggies and keeping hydrated are smart practices year-round but are especially important during flu season. Antioxidants and essential vitamins such as A and C keep your immune system at peak performance. Take a multivitamin daily for a little immunity insurance.
Get your zinc on
Your body needs zinc for its immune system to function properly, and zinc nasal sprays may even help reduce stuffiness. Make sure that you are getting enough to keep yourself well, but don’t take more than 50 mg per day.
Here is another reason to put the pack in the past: smokers get the flu more often – and with more severity – than non-smokers. Quit today for overall improved health and added protection against the flu.
That extra wash
Washing your hands often with soap and warm water or an alcohol-based hand cleaner is another easy, smart habit that will help defend your body against the flu. Additionally, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Get a flu shot
Seasonal influenza vaccines provide the best protection from the flu, even when the vaccine doesn’t completely match the currently circulating flu strains. In fact, doctors recommend that everyone older than 6 months get a yearly flu shot.
Don’t cover your sneezes and coughs with your hands
Because germs and viruses cling to your bare hands, muffling coughs and sneezes with your hands often results in passing along your germs to others. When you feel a sneeze or cough coming, use a tissue and throw it away immediately. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into the inside of your elbow.
Do not touch your face
Cold and flu viruses enter your body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. Touching their faces is the major way children catch colds and a key way they pass colds on to their parents.
Heavy alcohol use suppresses the immune system in a variety of ways. Heavier drinkers are more prone to initial infections as well as secondary complications. Alcohol also dehydrates the body – it actually causes more fluid loss from your system than it puts in.
Allicin, a substance in crushed garlic, helps fight viruses. In a British study, volunteers who took a daily 180 mg allicin supplement caught 63 percent fewer colds over 12 weeks than those taking a placebo. Garlic cloves contain less allicin (5 to 9 mg), but even two raw cloves a day may help.
Use herbs and spices
The oregano in your spaghetti sauce and the mustard on your turkey sandwich can boost your immune system. In winter, flavor bean and poultry dishes with oregano and thyme, and add a bit of turmeric to plain yogurt for a spicy dip.
Take care of your toothbrush
Viruses on one toothbrush can contaminate others it touches. Make sure your family’s brushes are in a holder that keeps them apart, and let them dry thoroughly. (If you get a flu shot, you don’t need to replace your brush; you already have antibodies against that virus.)