At the office, you notice some of your coworkers are missing due to the flu. While browsing your favorite social media platform, you discover several of your friends and family members have also contracted this common cold weather illness. Every time you watch a news broadcast on television, you hear staggering updates concerning this year’s flu epidemic.
If you can relate to this scenario, you might be more than a little paranoid about falling ill. According to WebMD, getting a flu shot is “the No. 1 thing you can do to prevent the flu.” However, if you’re squeamish about needles, or simply want to be extra cautious, consider the following ways to protect against the flu this year.
Practice the 20 Second Hand-washing Rule
Regardless of what profession you’re in, you need to continuously wash your hands throughout the day if you’re around other people or in a public place. To thoroughly rid your skin of pesky viruses, scrub them for at least 20 seconds. An ingenious way to time yourself is to sing “Happy Birthday” two times while scrubbing the backs of your hands, under your fingernails, and between your fingers. Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you to utilize when soap and water aren’t available.
Avoid Crowded Public Places
During flu season, strive to avoid crowded public places whenever possible. For instance, movie theaters, concert and sports venues, doctor’s offices, airplanes, busses, and commuter trains are havens for contagious germs.
When you are out and about, try to avoid touching others if you can—especially their hands. When greeting people, verbally let them know you’re happy to see them without physically shaking their hand.
Turn Your Surroundings into a Germ-free Zone
Is your cellphone glued to your hand 24 hours a day? Perhaps, you’re constantly picking up your pen at work in order to jot down notes. Besides vigilantly washing your hands, you should also turn your surroundings into a germ-free zone. Stock up on disinfectant wipes. Regularly use them on cellphones, pens, light switches, computers, faucets, or any other items you and others touch often.
Break a Sweat
Working out improves your overall fitness, which in turn benefits your immune system. Thankfully, to reap the rewards of exercise, you don’t need to run a marathon. Moderate activity will suffice. A research study suggests that 65-year-olds who exercise regularly possess the equivalent number of T-cells, a certain kind of white blood cell, as those in their 30s. White blood cells fight infections.
Don’t Be a Night Owl
While exercise can boost your immune system, failing to sleep soundly each night can compromise it. Besides making you more prone to falling ill after being exposed to a virus, a lack of sleep can also prolong your recovery time if you do succumb to sickness.
While you slumber, your immune system releases proteins known as cytokines. When you have an infection, are inflamed, or are stressed, your levels of specific cytokines need to increase. Unfortunately, sleep deprivation often reduces production of these protective cytokines. Infection fighting antibodies and cells are also diminished when you don’t get the proper amount of rest. According to the Mayo Clinic, most adults should aim for seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night.
Indulge In a Yogurt Parfait
Yogurt and other fermented food products contain probiotics. According to WebMD, probiotics might lessen the severity of colds. When shopping for yogurt, search for varieties consisting of “live and active cultures” and added vitamin D. Research studies imply that people with low vitamin D levels might be more likely to succumb to colds and the flu.
Elderberries are packed with antioxidants. Some lab studies suggests an extract from these colorful berries might block flu viruses. Therefore, indulging in a yogurt parfait with elderberries is a great, go-to snack during the treacherous cold and flu season.
Warm Up with Some Chicken Soup
Chicken soup is the perfect comfort food when the weather is bitterly cold outside. You might have heard about its perceived abilities to help ease cold and flu symptoms and speed up recovery time. Besides these assumed benefits, chicken soup contains the chemical carnosine. Carnosine is believed to be able to protect your body from the flu virus.
Getting the flu can make you feel miserable for days. If you’re desperate to prevent the wrath of the flu virus from entering your home, consider adhering to the aforementioned tips.
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