You may be noticing that people around you are getting sick more frequently. That’s because flu season is officially here, though its peak is typically between December and February. Symptoms of the flu are unpleasant and can include fever, chills, cough, sore throat, muscle or body aches, runny or stuffy nose, fatigue, and headaches. If you want to avoid catching the flu this season, follow these tips for staying healthy during flu season.
1. Wash Your Hands
One of the most important tips for staying healthy during flu season is as simple as washing your hands regularly. It’s always important to wash your hands to clean them of dirt and germs, but this task becomes even more necessary when you are trying to avoid catching the flu. Wash your hands as often as you reasonably can, especially if you may have come into contact with someone who is sick. It’s best to scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds for maximum effectiveness. If you need help keeping time, sing the “Happy Birthday” song twice. Make sure you wash every part of your hands, including the palms, backs, between fingers, and under nails.
2. Avoid Being Around Sick People
If you want to avoid getting sick this flu season, it’s best to avoid close contact with people who are sick or who are exhibiting flu symptoms. If you know someone is sick, try to keep your distance. It’s also important to avoid using items that a sick person has used. For example, if someone in your household has the flu, don’t share toiletries, eating utensils, or anything else that comes into direct contact with your skin. If you do need to be around someone who is sick, make sure you wash and sanitize your hands afterwards as well as any surfaces they have touched.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is vital in order for your body to effectively fight off viruses and infections. Research has shown that individuals who sleep for fewer than seven hours a night are three times more likely to get sick from colds and the flu than those who get at least eight hours of sleep. Quality sleep on a regular basis allows your immune system to function at its best to protect your body from the flu and other illnesses.
4. Don’t Touch Your Face
Even if you wash your hands or use hand sanitizer regularly, your hands are still consistently coming into contact with surfaces that others have touched. That’s why it’s important to avoid touching your face during flu season. Your mouth, nose, and eyes are common entry points for germs like the flu virus, so make sure you aren’t touching these areas of your face. You never know if a sick person has recently touched an object or surface before you’ve touched it.
5. Disinfect Surfaces Regularly
Germs like those that cause the flu can live on hard surfaces for hours or even several days. Things like door handles, countertops, electronics, gym equipment, remote controls, light switches, trays, and other hard surfaces can be breeding grounds for these germs. That’s why it’s necessary to clean and disinfect high-touch areas often during flu season to get rid of these germs. Though softer surfaces are less likely to spread germs, it’s also important to wash clothing, soft toys, blankets, etc. that have come into contact with a sick person as an added safety measure.
6. Boost Your Immune System
If you want to boost your body’s ability to fight off sickness, you can add vitamins and nutrients to your diet to help support a healthy immune system. Research suggests that taking vitamin C before getting sick can help shorten the duration of colds and the flu, as can zinc. Make sure your body is getting enough of these and other essential nutrients so your immune system can function at its best during flu season.
7. Get a Flu Shot
One of the best ways to avoid catching the flu is getting a flu shot. Because flu viruses mutate each season, it’s important to get a flu vaccine each year so you can be protected against the current flu strain. It’s recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months who is able should get a flu shot before the peak of flu season to optimize protection against the flu. You can get your flu vaccine at our convenient Evansville pharmacy locations.
More Tips for Staying Healthy This Winter
These are some of the best tips to help you stay healthy during flu season. As the weather gets colder, other illnesses and health challenges also arise, such as colds, COVID-19, RSV, allergies, and more. Check out these tips for how to stay healthy in winter so you can enjoy the winter season without having to deal with unwanted illness.