You’ve seen the headlines and heard the news.
This year’s flu season is the worst in over a decade. And even though the season is just peaking, it has already caused the deaths of more children than we normally expect.
This is serious business. And if you or a loved one have the flu, my heart goes out to you.
If you haven’t gotten flu yet, I have excellent news for you.
There are simple and evidence-based things you can do to prevent getting the flu.
So get ready to take some notes, take a screenshot, or save this url. I’m going to give you six free and easy tips to prevent the flu this year.
Wash Your Hands
I know . . . this isn’t very sexy.
But it works. Really.
You can become infected with flu from merely touching a surface where a sick person has been up to 8 hours ago. Think tables, counters, doorknobs, water faucets, and handrails. Imagine a person with flu touched the cart you selected at the grocery store. You then touch the cart with your hands. Then you get an itch in your eye or a tickle on your nose and you rub. Bingo — you just brought the flu virus into your body.
So wash your hands now and often.
I’m not talking about running your hands quickly underneath tepid water. I’m talking hot water, soap, and rubbing for at least 20 seconds. Then rinsing well. And don’t forget to go all the way up to your forearms.
If you aren’t around soap and water, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer until you can get to a hand washing station.
Stay Away From Sick Folks
Captain obvious, I know.
But the more time you spend around those that are sick, the more likely you are to BECOME sick.
So if possible, steer clear of those with signs of infection.
Eat for Immunity
I don’t mean buying a pre-packaged sugary drink called Immunity Booster.
I mean eat in a way that nourishes your body and keeps it as healthy as possible.
This means copious amounts of vegetables and fruit. Think lettuces, tomatoes, berries, citrus fruit, and the like. These foods help keep your immune system strong.
If you’re burning the candle at both ends, you’re more likely to get sick.
Getting inadequate sleep puts your body under stress, which can increase your risk of illness.
How much should you sleep? According to sleep experts, almost everybody does best with 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night.
You can read more about sleep and why it is so incredibly important here.
Move Your Body
Exercise can prevent you from getting flu.
First off exercise may help flush pathogens (like bacteria) out of the lungs and airways. This may reduce your chance of getting flu.
Second, exercise causes beneficial changes to your white blood cells (immune system cells that fight disease). Physical activity makes your white blood cells circulate more rapidly so illness can be detected faster.
Third, your body temperature increases during and after you exercise. This increase may prevent bacterial growth and help the body fight infection better.
Lastly, exercise decreases the release of stress hormones. Lower stress hormones may protect against illness like the flu.
If you are exercising at a gym, be sure sure to sanitize equipment before you use it. Of course, wash your hands when you are done or before touching your eyes, nose, or face.
If you smoke, you’ve likely heard you’re increasing your risk of cancer. But did you know smoking makes you more likely to get the flu?
Studies show smokers are more likely to get the flu. Once they have the flu smokers are more likely to have a severe case and an increased risk of death.
Preventing flu is just another reason to quit smoking.
The flu is serious this year. The good news is there are PLENTY of ways you can prevent infection. Give them a try to help you make it through flu season safe and sound.
Are you interested in supplements to prevent the flu? If so, check back next week for evidence-based information on supplements to prevent flu.