No one likes the fever, upset stomach, and headache that is commonly associated with the flu. Unfortunately, as the temperature dips in the winter, it often means that the flu season is right around the corner. What if this year you didn’t have to worry about catching the flu? With these simple tips, you can enjoy the winter season without suffering the potentially dangerous effects of the flu.
1. Disinfect All Shared Areas
Whether you are at home or at work, the easiest way to prevent the flu is to disinfect any commonly used surfaces. Though it is impossible to eliminate the virus from all living and working spaces, by disinfecting shared areas such as doorknobs, phones, and keyboards you can significantly decrease your chances of getting sick over the winter season.
2. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly
Regular hand washing makes it difficult for the flu virus to spread from person to person. To be effective, you should wash your hands as often as possible, for at least one minute. Try singing the song, “Happy Birthday to You” twice in your head to ensure that you are washing your hands for long enough.
3. Get the Proper Amount of Sleep Every Night
The stress associated with sleep deprivation can weaken your body’s ability to stay healthy. To keep the flu away this season, make sure you have a regular sleep routine. This includes both going to bed around the same time and sleeping for seven to eight hours every night.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
A diet that contains the required amount of vitamin D will reduce your chances of getting the flu. The best way to achieve this is to drink vitamin D fortified milk everyday. Yogurt is another good food to eat because it contains both vitamin D and live active cultures that will improve the health of your digestive tract.
5. Don’t Stress the Small Stuff
Long term stress can weaken the immune system. If you are like most people and cannot take the stress out of your life, try to incorporate a calming activity into your daily routine. Massages are a good way to promote relaxation as they not only feel great, they also lower blood pressure, heart rate, and reduce anxiety.
6. Incorporate Exercise into Your Daily Routine
All it takes is twenty minutes of moderate exercise a day to help keep you from catching the flu. In addition to the temporary boost that it will give your immune system, most people who exercise also have more energy and feel happier in general. When the flu season is at its height, stay healthy by making exercise a part of your daily routine.
7. Protect Yourself When Others Have the Flu
It may seem hard to stay healthy if you are caring for someone who already has the flu. In these situations, you should minimize your exposure to the virus as best as you can. Since the flu virus enters the body through the mouth and the nose, your best protection is to avoid touching these areas with your hands.
The flu virus has hit Houston especially hard in recent weeks. The best way to protect yourself from the illness is by getting a flu shot. Flu shots aren't 100% effective, but they still offer the best line of defense. Flu vaccines work to build antibodies against the three influenza viruses that are most likely to be prevalent during flu season. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that anyone over six months of age get vaccinated.
While fall is the best time to get a flu shot, vaccinations later in the season can still provide protection, as flu shots generally take only two weeks to become effective. According to the CDC, the flu season generally peaks in January or February, but the entire season typically runs from October to May.
Urgent Clinics Medical Care offers flu shots at our walk-in clinics in Pearland, Champions, The Woodlands and 3 locations in League City: Creekside, Marina Bay and Tuscan Lakes. The flu shot for the 2015-2016 season provides protection against influenza A/H1N1, A/H3N2 and B. The sooner you are vaccinated the earlier your body has the chance to build-up immunity to the virus, providing you the greatest opportunity for defense.
Urgent Clinics Medical Care offers an inactivated influenza trivalent vaccine suitable for ages 4 and above. This flu shot contains non-infectious particles and cannot cause the flu. It is intended to provide protection against illness due to influenza, and does not protect against all respiratory illnesses. Patients 4 to 8 years of age that have never received the flu shot will require two doses given one month apart. Patients 8 years of age and above should receive a single injection annually.
The cost of the vaccine is $25 at any of our Houston area locations. Or, you can make an appointment and we will come to you. On-site flu shots are $35 per person.
The flu doesn’t have to limit what you do this winter season. Take steps to shield yourself from the virus and stay healthy all winter long. By taking precautions against the flu, such as the flu shot, proper hand washing and daily exercise, you can decrease your chances of becoming sick. Urgent Clinics Medical Care hopes you enjoy this winter season without having to worry about the flu.
For more information from the CDC on the 2015-2016 flu season, click here.