Oh the Flu… no thank you!

Unless your idea of a good time is being laid up for days with headaches, diarrhea, chills and muscle aches that are all courtesy of the flu, you really don’t want to get sick this year! Up to 15% of the country gets the flu every year. Here are the top 3 ways to avoid being one of them!

1) Get the flu shot!

  • Vaccines prime your immune system to mount a flu-fighting response before you are even exposed.

2) Keep clean!

  • Keep your distance from someone who has flu symptoms. Most viruses, such as the flu, spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs, and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth. Many germs can live for hours to days on surfaces like doorknobs, desks, and tables. Droplets spread in the air by coughing, sneezing or talking and are inhaled by those nearby. Some experts believe anyone within three feet can often be infected.
  • In general, wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Also, wash your hands:
    • before eating, or touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
    • after using then bathroom.
    • after being in contact with or being near someone who is ill or sneezing, coughing or blowing their nose.
    • after touching hand rails, door knobs, telephones or other things handled by many people.
    • before and after eating or drinking
    • before handling food, particularly ready to eat food.
    • after handling garbage or trash
    • Don’t share things like utensils, drinking glasses, towels, lipstick or other personal items. We all love to share, but in this case, avoid letting children share toys or anything else that might be contaminated with respiratory germs.
    • Don’t share food, utensils or beverage containers with others.
    • When you are sick, keep your distance from others. This prevents spreading your illness. Stay home from work, school, errands and public places as much as possible! And keep your distance from those who are sick also! Cover your cough (and sneeze too!)

3) Practice good health habits!

  • Make sure your immune system is in great shape! Scientists are still investigating how and which healthy habits help the most, but there’s clearly evidence for adopting and avoiding certain behaviors. 
  • Sleep well. A recent study found that sleeping 8 hours a night instead of 7 or fewer can make you 30% less likely to catch a cold. 
  • Eat well. A well-balanced diet, full of lots nutrients, may help boost your immune system. Avoid smoking or high levels of stress that can compromise your immune system. 

These tips will not only benefit you, but will build “healthy habits” for your children, friends, and family too!