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Healthy Habits for Fighting the Flu

Cleaning supplies and thermometer

t’s that time again of year again, the dreaded cold and flu season. No matter how many fruit and veggie smoothies you drink, you are still at risk of catching the bug. Whether at work, at school, or on the go, germs are all around us. They live on door knobs, computer keyboards, public transportation, and the five dollar bill we use to pay for our Monday morning XL coffee. Despite our best efforts to keep healthy, the flu is spread from person to person easily. The flu is most commonly contracted from small droplets of saliva, which can be spread when someone sneezes, coughs, or talks. Other less common ways of catching the flu include touching surfaces that have been infected with the virus and then transferring those germs to an air passage like the nose, mouth, or eye[1]. During flu season, it is especially important to implement healthy habits, like the ones listed below, into our routines in order to fight the flu.

1. Boost Your Immune SystemSome common symptoms of the flu include: fever, sore throat, runny nose and congestion, headaches and muscle aches, and fatigue[2]. Boosting your immune system is a practical precaution to avoid these symptoms as well as the overall illness. When your immune system is strong, it is better equipped to fight against disease and infection. You can do this by maintaining a healthy diet, drinking plenty of water, exercising regularly and getting adequate amounts of sleep. 2. Wash Your HandsHand washing is also an important factor in fighting off germs. In order to effectively ward off bacteria and germs, make sure that you are using both soap and warm water and scrubbing for at least 20 seconds. 3. Get the Flu ShotThe flu affects millions of people every year, and can be fatal for thousands. The flu season begins as early as October and can continue all the way through May. Getting a seasonal flu vaccine can lessen the risk of getting sick, and therefore can improve the overall health of the communities in which you live and work[3]. When you take the necessary precautions to keep yourself healthy, you are positively impacting those around you by preventing the spread of disease. There a few important things to keep in mind when thinking about the flu vaccine:

  1. Getting the vaccine cannot cause the flu.
  2. The flu can be particularly dangerous for those with existing health conditions, including asthma, heart disease and diabetes.
  3. Getting the flu vaccine every year optimizes the chances of immunity.

4. Eliminate Germs in Your HomeOne of the best ways to minimize the risk of getting the flu is to properly clean, sanitize, and disinfect your home to eliminate harmful germs and bacteria that are living there. Household products are beneficial in reducing the number of bacteria on the surfaces in your home, especially in the kitchen and bathrooms. Some hot spots are sinks, countertops, garbage cans, and cutting boards. The flu virus can live on a surface for up to 48 hours[4], and household cleaning products can help eliminate those germs. Be sure to read the label on your products to ensure you are using them properly. Remembering and applying these steps during flu season will help reduce your chances of getting sick!


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm[2] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm[3] https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/misconceptions.htm#misconception-consent[4] http://www.cbsnews.com/news/de-germing-your-house-words-to-the-wise/

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