Flu season usually hits between October and May, with December and January being the peak times. However, this year it arrived early- about six weeks earlier than usual- showing no signs of slowing down!
As a result, so far this flu season, the United States has seen more hospitalizations than in any of the past ten years. So if it feels like everybody around you is constantly getting sick, you're not just imagining things. This year’s flu is no joke!
Here are seven tips for staying healthy this season to protect yourself and those close to your heart.
#1 Drink plenty of fluids
Staying hydrated is essential for good health, but it's even more crucial when trying to avoid getting sick. Drinking fluids helps to flush out toxins and can also help thin mucus, making it easier to expel.
Plus, this is especially important if you're spending time in close contact with others, as it helps prevent dehydration. Our resident physician here at Tri-County couldn’t agree more that water is always a good choice, but consider adding some fruit or veg to your diet, too.
So, whether it’s water, juice, or soup, stay hydrated throughout the day!
#2 Eat healthy foods
As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors, it's important to take steps to stay healthy and avoid getting sick. One simple way to do this is to eat a nutritious diet to bolster our immune system. So what should we be eating? Fruits and veggies!
Lots of fresh fruits and vegetables are a great start, as they're packed with vitamins and minerals that help keep our bodies functioning correctly. We should also make sure to include plenty of protein-rich foods, such as lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, and eggs. These provide the building blocks for a strong immune system.
And don't forget about yogurt! It contains probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that help keep our gut healthy - and 70% of our immune system is located in our core. So load up your plate with these immunity-boosting foods to fight off infection and illness, and you'll be on your way to a healthy flu season!
#3 Stay home if you're sick
If you're feeling under the weather, resist the urge to tough it out and go to work, school, or errands until you feel better. This may seem like common sense, but it's important to remember that you can spread the flu even if you don't feel sick yourself.
Aside from giving your body a chance to rest and recover, this will also help prevent the spreading of your illness to others. And remember while at home to stay hydrated and give yourself a hot chicken noodle soup!
#4 Wash your hands often
Washing your hands is always important, especially during cold and flu season. Handwashing is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of illness. It is one of the most important things you can do to protect yourself from germs.
So, ensure you're washing your hands regularly throughout the day, especially before you eat or after you've been in contact with someone sick. Do it for at least 20 seconds with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. This simple step can help reduce exposure to bacteria and viruses that cause illness.
#5 Avoid touching your face
This one can be tough, but it's important! Touching your face (especially your mouth, nose, or eyes) is one of the easiest ways to spread germs and get yourself sick. Germs can enter your body through these areas in your face, so it's essential to avoid doing this as much as possible.
Resist the urge to rub your eyes or scratch your nose, and keep your hands away from your face as much as possible!
But this should not be an excuse to skip your skincare routine! Aside from promoting your health, we also offer various medical spa treatments to leave your skin beautiful and radiant inside and out.
#6 Disinfect surfaces regularly
Germs can live on surfaces for hours or even days. Surfaces like a door handle, countertops, and phones can easily become breeding for them during cold and flu season. Regularly cleaning these surfaces will surely help to reduce your exposure to germs.
So to help stop the spread of illness, make it a habit to clean and disinfect surfaces in your home, office, or other public spaces!
#7 Get a flu shot
Getting a flu shot is the most important thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu. It protects you against the most common strains of the virus, so it's definitely worth getting one. Aside from that, it also helps your body build immunity, making it less likely that you'll get sick if exposed.
In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that everyone six months of age and older get it by the end of October, if possible. This is the best way to decrease your chances of getting the flu.
And remember, the flu virus changes yearly, so getting a new shot each is important. We don’t want you to end up in our urgent care, so get your flu shot now!
Wrapping It Up
As the weather gets colder and we spend more time indoors, we must take extra care of our health. The flu is a contagious respiratory illness that can cause mild to severe symptoms.
Although it might seem like the flu is inevitable this season, you can do plenty of things to help keep yourself healthy. By following our seven tips for staying healthy this season, you can help keep yourself – and everyone around you – sniffle-free!
And if you feel under the weather while reading this, don’t hesitate to reach out for some help.
Here at Tri County Health & Wellness, we offer various services to help you get over fast. From flu shots to cold and cough treatments, we have you covered. Schedule an appointment!
Have a happy and healthy winter!