Flu season is upon us, and with the pandemic continuing. We know more than ever need to take action to avoid getting sick.
According to a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), they found that on average, 8% of the American population gets sick from the flu each year.
A Clinical Infection Disease study shows that children are more likely to get sick from the flu with a 9.3% infection rate, while adults 65 years and older average a 3.9% infection rate. With this in mind, here are a few ways to help you avoid the flu this season.
Get a Flu Shot
There has been much controversy when it comes to the flu shot over the years. While there have been myths about how the flu shot can actually give you the flu or that the shot is injecting toxins into one’s system, these claims have been proven to be inaccurate information.
The CDC recommends getting the flu shot anywhere between September to October, but if you are late to the game, getting a vaccine at any time during the season will still be a big help.
The seasonal flu shot protects against flu-causing viruses that will be prominent during this season, and usually one-shot will protect against three to four different viruses.
Due to the pandemic, the U.S. will be promoting and providing flu vaccinations more than ever. In the 2020-2021 flu season, around 198 million vaccines will be available to the public. This is up from 175 million, recorded last year, with some healthcare providers like Health Net hosting free flu shot clinics throughout their area.
“We want to encourage all essential workers, adults age 65 and older, and young children to get their flu shots as soon as possible,” said Dr. Alex Chen, Chief Medical Officer at Health Net. “Thanks to the support of LAUSD, we are pleased to provide families a quick and easy way to do this. Health Net is committed to helping people stay safe and healthy during this critical flu season.”
According to researchers, when the flu vaccine is well matched to the current year’s strain of the virus, it can reduce the risk of the flu by 40%-60%. The shot has also reduced hospitalizations from flu complications in children by 60%, so it’s no wonder they are so highly recommended!
Practice Good Hygiene
Good hygiene benefits too many aspects of your life, but none are more important than keeping you germ and disease-free.
Washing your hands clean is extremely important to prevent the spread of the flu. Be sure to wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. If you’re not already doing so, keep a portable container of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you in case you’re in a public area without easy access to a restroom. Just remember to wash your hands as soon as you return home properly.
Whether you’re commuting or working from home, maintaining a strong hygiene routine is recommended. Keeping your body clean, your hair washed, your teeth brushed, etc., helps you feel good about yourself in a time of increased anxieties. Of course, a positive attitude alone won’t make you immune to the flu. Still, it does help alleviate stress, which could otherwise suppress your immune system. Speaking of which…
Feed Your Immune System
The immune system plays a vital role in protecting you from the flu. It does so by building antibodies that will attack any illness that enters your system. When your immune system is not being taken care of, it will not do its best to fight off illnesses and diseases you may contract. Let’s look at some easy ways to naturally fuel your immune system:
- As we head toward the holiday season, it can be difficult to stay away from sweets, but your immune system will be much stronger if you do! Focus on fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins C (citrus fruits, peppers, broccoli) and vitamin D (salmon, tuna, eggs) to help yourself stay on track.
- With quarantine recommendations still in effect, staying active while staying home continues to be important. Increasing blood flow via exercise lends a big boost to your immune system. Just make sure you’re not making any of these mistakes.
- A good night’s sleep is beneficial to your health in so many ways, and fighting off sickness is no exception. Sleeping allows your body to fully relax and repair itself, optimizing blood flow and reducing inflammation.
- As previously mentioned, feeling stressed out can lead you to make decisions that ignore or contradict the above tips, making you more susceptible to infection. If you feel like your stress levels are on the rise, try taking some steps to reduce it.
Immune systems work their best when we take care of our bodies. So it’s crucial that we don’t lose focus on our own self-care.
These are just a few things to keep in mind when combating the 2020 flu season. If you are looking for more details regarding the flu, call your doctor or healthcare professional. And check out some of our other wellness articles for more healthy tips and tricks and upcoming health information.