October has arrived, and flu season is right around the corner. Getting the flu is not only inconvenient but it can be dangerous for babies and seniors. Follow these tips to keep yourself and your family healthy this flu season:
Wash your hands frequently
Keeping your hands clean is the easiest way to help protect yourself from germs. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you need to scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. When in public restrooms, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet and to open the door when exiting to avoid contaminating your hands all over again.
Keep hand sanitizer near by
When soap and water isn’t available, hand sanitizer is the next best thing. Keep a bottle in your car, on your desk and in your purse. The alcohol content of the hand sanitizer should be at least 60 percent to be effective. Place the recommended amount in the palm of one hand and rub the sanitizer all over your hands and between your fingers until they are dry.
Eat a healthy diet
Eating nutrient-rich foods on a regular schedule helps your immune system stay active and promotes a steady supply of immune cells. Look for foods rich in vitamin C which can help fight off free radicals in the body. Great options include citrus fruits, berries, leafy greens, pineapples, and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower. Vitamin D plays a vital role in the functioning of the immune system and vitamin D supplements have been demonstrated to halve the risk of respiratory infections in people with low baseline vitamin D levels.
New research suggests that regular exercise and mediation may be among the best ways to reduce acute respiratory infections. In addition, regular exercise can help your body absorb nutrients in healthy foods.
Get enough sleep
Not getting enough sleep every night can lower your immune system and leave you susceptible to getting sick. During sleep, your body works hard to repair damaged tissues and manufacture life-sustaining hormones. Make sure to get at least 7 hours a night, but preferable 8 to ensure enough time in the deepest stages of sleep.
Get the Flu Shot
The Center for Disease Control estimates that the flu vaccine reduces a person’s risk of flu-related illness by 61 percent. The effectiveness may vary from year to year based on multiple factors including how closely the flu vaccine matches circulating flu strains. CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine by the end of October but getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial.
Always consult your physician before beginning any exercise program. This general information is not intended to diagnose any medical condition or to replace your healthcare professional.