Each year, people spend over $10 billion on flu-related doctor’s visits. In fact, about 200,000 Americans enter the hospital annually due to flu complications. Even in mild cases, the flu is miserable and can last for 3 to 7 days. Let’s talk about things that can help protect your and your family from getting sick.
For most things, vaccinations will protect you for a decade or longer. Unfortunately, there are several strains of the flu and the virus mutates rapidly. Get vaccinated early so that your body has a couple of weeks to develop necessary antibodies to fight the flu virus.
Each year’s flu vaccine is formulated to counter the 3-4 most common strains for that flu season. The flu shot is different for each flu season, so stay up to date!
Keep Your Hands Clean
Wash with soap and water before and after handling food, when in contact with other people, after touching very public door handles, etc. Better safe than sorry when it comes to the flu.
Keep Carpets & Countertops Clean
Carpets and rugs work as giant air filters in your home and actually keep bacteria and viruses from recirculating through the air. They don’t do much good if they’re chuck full of dirt, however. Vacuum on a weekly basis and get a professional cleaning done mid-way through Fall and after Winter ends to get that deeper clean that eliminates bacteria.
You can also keep germs from spreading around the home by wiping down countertops. Make sure to use your household cleaners effectively by following their directions.
Use an Air Purifier
Even when you clean your home well, you have to contend with unhealthy airborne particles and germs. When you use a heater with the doors and windows closed, those particles are just circulated about the house. Consider adding air purifiers to rooms you’re in more often to ensure healthier air.
Most doctors recommend using a purifier with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter.
Eat Healthy & Relieve Stress
A well-balanced diet will improve your immune system and helps you stay strong when fighting infections. Of course, include a balance of vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Foods rich in vitamins A, C, and E help immune cells work, and are particularly helpful.
In addition, if you are in a continual state of stress, your body remains on high alert and will take resources and energy away from fighting any infection. Make sure to take a few minutes each day to meditate or read or whatever helps you decompress. Research has found that social stresses delay the production of antibodies and make you more susceptible to getting sick.
Stay Home When You’re Sick!
Even if your symptoms don’t seem bad enough to keep you bedridden, you could very well still be contagious. Staying home will be a service to your coworkers and to yourself. Doctors recommend plenty of rest to reduce recovery time.