Flu season is rearing its ugly head, threatening us with more infectious diseases. People with poor immune systems have to face the wrath of the flu-breeding season the most. In the wake of the Coronavirus and seasonal flu scare, it is important to take care of your health and prevent all infections in the best possible way.
So, what can you do to prepare? Well, this year, in particular, you’ll want to incorporate some preventative measures. You may also want to boost your immunity to give yourself a fighting chance.
Here’s a look at practical ways to keep yourself safe during this doubly dangerous flu season.
Stock up on medicine for your cabinet
It’s also crucial to keep an eye on your medications. If you get the sniffles and suspect you are at the onset of the flu, stay home until you feel better to avoid spreading it on to others. Keep your medicine cabinet stocked with things that will help reduce fever, coughs, and muscle aches. Rather than waiting until the last minute to fill prescriptions, keep them replenished. Also, make sure you have a good thermometer on hand to keep track of your temperature.
“I think one of the most important steps people can take right now is to be sure they have a 30- or 90-day supply of critical medications that may be hard to get due to supply chain interruptions,” Linda Lee, DrPH, an environmental health expert and chief medical affairs and science officer at UV Angel, says.
So, don’t panic unless your fever reaches high numbers and is accompanied by symptoms like chest pain, breathing difficulty, severe headache, and confusion.
Add foods with immunity-boosting to your diet
The right diet can do wonders to keep you healthy because certain foods naturally boost immunity. Green, leafy vegetables are rich in vitamins that help you maintain a balanced diet — and support a healthy immune system.
So, if you want to prevent catching this season’s cold, flu, and other viruses, add these foods to your shopping list.
- Foods that are high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, spinach, and red bell peppers.
- Nutrient-dense broccoli is loaded with vitamins A, C, and E, along with antioxidants and fiber.
- Almonds are loaded with immune-boosting vitamin E.
- Ginger helps fight inflammation, the root cause of many diseases and illnesses.
- Green tea is packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant that enhances immune function.
- Garlic contains compounds that help your immune system fight pathogens.
- Turmeric is one of the best spices you can consume for protecting your immune system before cold and flu season. Studies show that turmeric stimulates the immune system to fight various flu viruses.
Your body relies on sleep to recuperate from daily exposure to toxins. So, getting adequate sleep is extremely important if you’ve been exposed to a virus. One reason may be that the body releases cytokines during extended periods of sleep. Cytokines are a type of protein. They help the body fight infection by regulating the immune system.
Get Plenty of Exercises
Staying active by following a regular exercise routine — such as walking three times a week — does more than keep you fit and trim. Exercise can boost your immune system by increasing your circulation. Increased circulation allows antibodies to travel throughout your bloodstream faster, making it easier for your immune system to fight off an illness. Exercise can also enhance your immune system by relieving stress and slowing the release of stress hormones in the body.
According to a study published in the journal Neurologic Clinicians, regular exercise also:
- keeps inflammation and chronic disease at bay
- reduces stress and the release of stress-related hormones
- accelerates the circulation of disease-fighting white blood cells (WBCs), which helps the body fight the common cold
Supporting your immune system, strengthening your gut health, and remaining rested and stress-free are not only the keys to preventing the flu and will keep you on the path to optimal health.
Practice proper handwashing technique
Because the flu virus can live on hard surfaces, get into a habit of regularly washing your hands. When washing your hands, use warm soapy water and rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. Rinse your hands and dry with a clean towel. This is especially important before preparing food and eating. Also, you should always wash your hands after using the bathroom.
Also, carry a bottle of hand sanitizing gel with you, and sanitize your hands throughout the day when soap and water are unavailable.
Not only should you wash your hands regularly, but you should also make a conscious effort not to touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The flu virus can travel in the air, but it can also enter your body when your infected hands touch your face.
Lastly, remember that the flu and coronavirus produce similar symptoms, like muscle aches, cough, fever, and shortness of breath. So, if you or a family member develop any of these symptoms, call your doctor ASAP. They can advise you on the next step and inform you if influenza or COVID-19 testing is needed. Stay safe.