Posted 2.7.13 @ 13:15
Flu season typically peaks in January/February but it can easily last through May. It’s important to know what you can do in addition to getting a vaccine to keep yourself well this flu season; everything from common sense habits like avoiding close contact and cleaning your hands can keep you well. If you’re already sick, stay at home until your fever subsides – if you’re feverish you’re infectious. Let’s get started to see what you can do to prevent the flue from take you down this flu season.
The first and best way to combat the flu is to get vaccinated. But vaccination alone may not prevent infection; there are over 100 different live flu viruses and the vaccine can only protect you against the ones considered to be the “most popular”.
Wash Your Hands
If you keep the load of germs off your hands you won’t have to worry about getting them in your body and on the people you love. Soap and water is much more affective for most strains of the flu virus, so don’t be afraid to skip the antibacterial soap. The flu is caused by a virus, not bacteria after all.
Avoid Close Contact
If you’re sick or someone you know is sick, avoid close contact. Observe the 1m/3ft rule to prevent spreading the flu. If you or someone else is feverish they’re still infectious; once the fever passes the risk of spreading infection passes.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
When you sneeze or cough, cover your mouth and nose by coughing into your elbow. Each time you cough and sneeze tiny virus particles aspirate into the air where others can breathe them in.
Don’t touch Your Eyes, Nose or Mouth
This is a good habit to stay in year round. The less you touch your mouth, eyes and nose the better. Most viruses are actually passed in through the nose, not the mouth (except for stomach flu and viruses). This means the further you can keep things away from there the better your chances will be to avoid the flu.
Stay Home When You’re Sick
Like mentioned earlier, you’ll want to stay home when you don’t feel well – in the first 72 hours of infection, when you feel the worst, is actually when you’re more infectious. Do your friends and coworkers a favour and opt to stay home when you’re sick.
Eat Well, Exercise
It all starts with a good immune system. Regular exercise has been shown to give your immune system a boost and help fight off things when you get sick. A balanced diet improves immune function and helps again to fight off intruders.
It’s mostly common sense prevention when it comes to the flu, but make sure that you get your flu shot! The more people that are vaccinated against the worst types of flu the less likely people that can’t get the flu shot (babies, elderly, people allergic to the flu shot) and those susceptible to the illness.