Influenza is abundant around this time of year, and the current flu strain is attacking with a vengeance. Across the United States, in cities like Boston, epidemiologists report emergency levels of influenza cases. Many flu sufferers are sidelined for several days, while others may require hospitalization. More than a few have even died from the most virulent strains of influenza.
What can folks do to prevent infection with the dreaded flu?
Here are 10 ways to minimize risk of catching and sharing influenza.
When it comes to staving off potential sickness, it pays to take an all-in approach. After all, an estimated 35 to 50 million Americans suffer from influenza each year.
Stress sends the human body working in overdrive, which can actually make a person more vulnerable to a host of health problems, including flu infection. Even a few moments of relaxation can help to restore balance and improve one’s ability to fight off sickness. Strategic breathing techniques, yoga, and even quiet reading or games can help an individual to reduce stress.
2. Eat your vegetables.
Veggies are vital for health, as most folks know. Leafy green produce works wonders for stocking the body’s nutritional supply and fighting off flu and other illnesses.
3. Fill up on fruit.
Fruit is another essential for combating sickness. The nutrients in fresh fruit, in particular, bring a midwinter bounty to the body’s immunity system. And the added fiber of fruit keeps the digestive system operating properly, just in case.
4. Get moving.
Exercise is a well-known stress-buster. At the same time, a good sweat can work wonders in purifying the body from germs. What’s more, a few deep breaths in the cold winter air can kill off respiratory germs that tend to lurk in closed quarters.
5. Pour on the fluids.
Proper hydration is a must – particularly during flu season.
6. Skip the sugar and starches.
Who doesn’t crave carbohydrates in cold-weather months? Still, refined sugars and starches may actually reduce the body’s ability to combat flu germs.
7. Sleep well.
Grandma was right. A well-rested individual enjoys better odds of fending off the flu – and recovering more quickly, if he or she should happen to succumb to it. Fatigue adds vulnerability to all sorts of sickness.
8. Stop for a shot.
Each year’s flu shot aims at taking on the current strains of influenza, making this annual appointment important, particularly for the very young, the elderly, or those with any sort of immunodeficiency. Of course, the inoculation doesn’t take full effect for at least two to three weeks after administration, so it pays to be prompt.
9. Take the right vitamins.
Vitamins are vital, especially during the season of sickness. Key components include Vitamins A, C, D, and E. Many nutritionists also swear by cranberry, echinachea, elderberry, garlic, ginger, probiotics, and zinc for fighting the flu.
10. Wash your hands.
Proper personal hygiene may be the most important flu prevention measure of all. Those popular antibacterial soaps and gels may ease consciences, but the real secret to stopping influenza is basic hand-washing with traditional soap and water.
It’s possible to fight the flu, at least trimming one’s influenza risk and perhaps preventing the worst onset, by taking these essential steps.