For many Americans, influenza is a serious health condition that can cause temporary incapacitation, or, in very serious cases, even death. The flu season is different each year, but one consistent factor is that millions of people usually get it annually. The odds of getting the flu increase during the winter months, but you may be able to avoid it this year with a few helpful tips.
Are you curious about how to stave off the flu this year? Keep reading to learn more about avoiding the flu as the height of flu season quickly approaches.
Get the Flu Shot
Contrary to popular belief, the flu shot does not cause the flu to develop. The flu shot contains an inactivated virus that cannot cause the illness. Keep in mind that you need to get a flu shot each year to be protected from the virus because the strain and vaccines change each year.
The flu shot significantly decreases your chances of being hospitalized or dying from the flu. For this reason, the shot is especially important for those with health concerns and seniors.
Tamiflu is a common medication used to treat symptoms of the flu. Tamiflu can decrease common symptoms like a sore throat, chills, fever, and aching muscles. It also shortens the recovery time for the flu.
Some doctors may recommend that you take Tamiflu as a preventative measure, especially if you have recently come into contact with somebody who has the flu already. The medication may also prevent the virus from growing altogether.
Improve Your Diet
An inadequate diet might work toward lowering your immune system, which can make you more susceptible to the flu. Avoid processed foods, including fast food, and rely on immune-boosting ingredients like red peppers, sweet potatoes, and garlic. Fruits and vegetables are always good choices as well, especially when they contain Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc.
You can also boost your immune system by increasing your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish, like salmon, is a great source of this nutrient.
In addition, probiotics (like those found in yogurt) increase the amount of healthy bacteria in your body. Eating a diet rich in probiotics is helpful for your immune system in general.
Get a Full Night of Sleep
Sleep is helpful in reducing your stress levels and keeping your immune system in check. Not getting enough sleep can certainly decrease the function of your immune system.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands and maintaining generally good hygiene helps you avoid picking up the flu and spreading it around. In addition, do your best not to touch your face.
Limit Personal Contact
Physical contact with those who have the flu puts you at risk of getting sick. Even shaking hands with somebody exposes you to the flu. For maximum safety, limit the amount of personal contact you have with others.
See the Doctor
The peak of flu season typically ends after February, but the flu can occur even in months as late as May. This means you can be at risk well into spring. If you begin to experience any symptoms of the flu, pay close attention to your health. Go into urgent care if you believe you have the flu and need treatment.
PDQ Urgent Care & More offers services for the cold and flu in addition to other health concerns. You can download our app and get in the queue via the web. You can even have a virtual chat with one of our doctors. Want to learn more? Call our office or come in for a visit today.