Avoiding The Flu This Fall
As we have all learned, the flu season is unpredictable. It's severity and the length of flu season often varies from state to state. And, the flu virus is always mutating. According to the CDC, the flu season occurs in the winter; flu outbreaks can happen as early as October and can last as late as May. Flu activity usually peaks between December and February.
Receiving the vaccination is important for people who are at high risk for having complications from the flu. The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against the flu soon after the vaccine becomes available. Unfortunately, it can take up to two weeks after you are vaccinated for antibodies to develop in your body that will provide protection against the flu virus.
Last year's shots were only 13 percent effective against H3N2 because of what scientists called an antigenic change in the virus (CDC). Thomas Frieden, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, said that he's more optimistic that this year's vaccine will be more effective.
On top of receiving your flu vaccination, there are a few safe habits you can develop to help you stay healthy and hopefully remain unscathed by the flu this season.
Steps to take:
1) Wash your hands frequently, including when you come in from outside, after using the bathroom, and after blowing your nose.
2) Keep all of your work surfaces clean, such as kitchen counters and computer desks. Also, keep your electronics clean to avoid spreading germs. Try to wipe down your cell phone and television remote on a daily basis.
3) Avoid contact with sick people. Try to not go around anybody that has the flu or presents flu-like symptoms
4) Drink water. Proper hydration is key. It is recommended that you drink 8 glasses a day. Also, hydration helps to keep your nasal passages moist, making them more resistant to viruses.
5) Balanced diet- A healthy diet can strengthen your immune system. Eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins, will build up your immune system. Not to mention, that there are a lot of beneficial vitamins found in fruits and vegetables that can protect you from the flu.
6) Moderate exercise- Working out 3-4 times a week can help your body's ability to fight infection. Even a brisk walk can do the trick.
7) Supplements- Take your vitamins to build your immune system. Also, consider taking probiotics. These are "good" bacteria that can keep your body healthy.
8) Zzzzz's - Get your sleep. Studies have shown that getting enough sleep is essential for your immune system's health. Not getting enough sleep can cause lowered immune function. Resting up can help to prevent you from getting sick.