If we don't take the right precautions, odds are that up to one in five of us will catch the flu this flu season. For most of us, having the flu means suffering at home for a week or two, then pulling ourselves out of bed to get on with our lives as usual. But the flu can be serious, even deadly, particularly for anyone with a health condition like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system. Before the flu can knock you out, you can deliver the first punch. Here are ways to fight back if the flu tries to take you down:
Experts say the single best way to avoid the flu is to get vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available in your area. The ideal time to get your flu shot is early autumn. But any time during the winter is fine if you haven't already gotten it.
Remember that the flu vaccine cannot cause the flu. Sometimes people who get vaccinated during flu season catch the flu in the two weeks before the vaccine has a chance to work. While it's human nature to see a link between the two events, there's no medical evidence that flu vaccines cause flu or make people susceptible to flu. And even though flu vaccines are not 100% effective, vaccinated people almost always have milder flu than people who weren't vaccinated.
Each year, the flu vaccine contains several different kinds of the virus. The strains chosen are the ones that researchers say are most likely to show up that year.
Build a Germ Barrier
The flu virus is easily passed from one person to the next. You can catch it anytime a nearby sick person sneezes or coughs in your direction. Or, you can pick up the flu virus from touching a surface, like the restaurant table where a sick person dined before you. When you touch a contaminated surface and then put your hands on your eyes, nose, or mouth, your fingers transport the germs straight into your body.
You can try to avoid sick people, but that's not always easy to do. If you can't steer clear of the virus, at least use good hygiene to create a barrier against flu germs.
If you want your immune system to be in good enough shape to fight off the flu and other germs, you need to stay healthy. Take steps like these:
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Exercise at least four days a week.
- Get seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
All these will give your body the strength it needs to fend off an impending influenza attack.
Take Your Medicine
Taking all these steps should keep you pretty well armed against the flu. Still, even the best defence isn't perfect. In case you do get sick, ask your doctor and pharmacist for advice. If you do come down with the flu this season, be considerate. The flu is contagious for up to a week after you get sick. Don't share germs with your friends, family, and co-workers.
Visit your RingPharm Pharmacy for professional and friendly advice on how you can beat colds and flu this winter.
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