Flu season is fast approaching, and while we can’t all stay home to avoid the germs spreading around, we can be proactive to lessen the chances of getting sick this winter. No one wants to wake up with a sore throat, cough, and fever when there’s work to get done. On average, 200,000 Americans are hospitalized each year because of the flu, with 4,605 flu-related deaths over the last year. Before you decide to see a doctor after getting sick this winter, know the difference between a cold and flu to avoid an unnecessary visit. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy this flu season.
The number one prevention for the flu is getting a flu shot every year, particularly for those at a higher risk of flu-related complications. Many communities offer free flu shots to residents and most insurance covers the cost of the vaccination, so there’s no reason to skip out on getting one. According to the CDC, only 49.9% of children 6 months to 17 years old got a flu shot in the last year, and that figure declines for everyone between 18 and 64 years old. Not only will a flu shot help protect you against the flu, it will also protect those around you who may not get a shot.
We come in contact with a lot of people throughout the day. Even if we’re not interacting with them, we’re still touching objects that have been touched by countless others like door handles. And we don’t know if everyone else has washed their hands. There’s no need to carry around a bottle of hand sanitizer, though it can come in handy in certain situations. You’ll be well protected if you just wash your hands often. This will also help protect those around you by maintaining good hygiene. You should also wash your hands before bringing those hands to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Put down the junk food and reach for a healthy snack. A balanced diet filled with fresh fruit and vegetables, lean meats and whole grains will give your immune system the help it needs to fight off germs every day. Practicing this habit throughout the year will lessen the possibility of getting sick even when it’s not flu season.
You should get exercise all year round, but during flu season it can help boost your immune system. However, be sure to wipe down any exercise equipment before and after you use it to prevent the spread of germs. Exercise can also help you sleep, and getting enough sleep each night can also improve your chances of avoiding the flu.
Be sure to maintain your healthy habits throughout the year. If you do come down with the flu, stay home and recover to ensure you don’t spread it to others. You should also follow our tips for what to do after catching a cold or flu. And if you need medical attention, contact us for an appointment.