How to Prevent Flu?
The flu isnít just one of the most commonly used excuses used to bunk school or take the day off from work, it is quite an annoying illness that can even be rather serious at times. In most cases, the flu will simply cause temporary illness and considerable discomfort, but there are cases where it can even cause complications and fatalities. Flu symptoms like a runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughs, body aches, weakness and fever are caused by infection with the influenza virus. The symptoms can last for a week or longer and in most healthy adults will resolve naturally if there are no other complications. The risk of getting the flu is present throughout the year, but itís most prevalent during the winter months, which is why itís generally referred to as the seasonal flu.
The seasonal flu doesnít have to put you out of action and take up so many days of lost productivity each year however. There are ways in which you can take charge and minimize the risk of infection and here are some flu prevention tips to help you get started:
- Hygiene: Always maintain the highest levels of personal hygiene. The main risk of infection when you travel and come in contact with people is through touching contaminated surfaces like bus railings or door handles or through direct physical contact. You donít need to turn into Adrian Monk and use sanitizer each time you turn or knob or shake a hand, but it doesnít hurt to wash your hands thoroughly as frequently as you can.
- Sleep: While avoiding close contact with people and washing your hands frequently may spare you some infectious diseases, if your immune system is compromised youíre still going to be at risk of infection. Getting adequate sleep is the best and most effective way to boost your immunity naturally. Individuals who do not get adequate sleep are at a significantly higher risk of succumbing to various infections, the flu included. Lack of sleep also impedes recovery.
- Eat Healthy: Healthy eating is important as it strengthens your immune system and boosts your overall health. Try to include plenty of fresh fruits, especially citrus fruits, in your regular diet as they are high in vitamins C and A, which make them invaluable to the health of your immune system.
- Vaccination: Vaccination against the flu is still viewed by many as being unnecessary and infective. But is a 50% success rate really all that ineffective? What others choose to see as glass half empty you can look at as glass half full. This is especially important if you are in a high risk group like a young child, aged adult or an individual with an immune-compromised system. Besides, when there is a risk of fatality, isnít a 50% chance of survival worth the risks?
- Stay Active: Individuals who live an active lifestyle are generally in far better shape and are a lot fitter, and consequently a lot less vulnerable to illness and infections. Exercising regularly goes a long way to strengthening immune function.
- Common Courtesy: Sometimes common courtesies like covering your mouth when coughing or sneezing can go a long way to helping curb the spread of infection. It isnít just polite to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, but it makes sound medical sense as it restricts the dispersion of germs.
- Kick the Butt: Smoking significantly increases your risk of picking up almost any infection especially those that affect the respiratory tract. Studies have shown that smoking also decreases immune response and destroys cilia, which are tiny hair like fibers that normally help filter out airborne germs and particulate matter.
- Be Positive: Weíve heard it all too often before, but that doesnít make it any less true. Being happy and cheerful really does keep you healthy and studies now show that your moods affect immune function, with happiness boosting it, while depression reduces immune function.