We’ve all had the flu before. The chills, the body aches, nausea, soreness, ugh! Many people experience the cold and flu during the winter months, leading to increased health care costs, physician visits, and lost productivity. Here are some simple steps to help you ward off the Flu this season:
- Wash Your Hands A Lot! You hear this all the time, but there is a reason for it. It sounds so simple, but soap and water are the constant companions of doctors and nurses, who work around sick patient’s every day. To completely get rid of viruses from your skin, you need to scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. Scrub the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails. And if you can’t get to a sink to wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Keep your surroundings clean. Sanitize doorknobs, light switches, and any other things that your hands come in to contact with frequently. Cell Phones are a particularly germ ridden device, as they are used often and not sanitized enough. Also, avoid rubbing your eyes or putting your hands in your mouth if you haven’t cleaned your hands. Germs are easily transmitted that way.
- Eat Protein. Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So make sure to eat protein-rich foods throughout the day, such as fish, eggs, and yogurt.
- Get Enough Sleep. David Katz, MD, founder of the Yale University Prevention Research Center says one of his strategies on avoiding the flu is to double down on trying to get enough sleep, even if it’s just a quick power nap. Research shows that our bodies need seven to nine hours of sleep in order to stimulate an immune response from our natural killer cells,’ which attack viruses. Seven to Nine hours of uninterrupted sleep will improve the function of your immune system and help your body cope with stress and emotional control. Sleep can be your most reliable defense against infection.
- Get Your Flu Shot! It is highly recommended that you get the vaccination to prevent getting the flu. Every fall, the Centers for Disease Control creates the annual flu vaccine based on the flu strains they believe will be prevalent that season. Getting the shot doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, but it does reduce your chance of catching the flu.