The flu season seems to creep up on us every year, and often, it isn’t until we are surrounded by coughing, sneezing and runny noses do we try to protect ourselves from getting sick ourselves! The good news is that even though we are well into this flu season, there are still ways to reduce the risk of catching the flu and passing it to those around you.
The best precautionary measure is to get your flu shot. Research indicates that, among older adults, getting the flu vaccine can reduce your risk of getting the flu by 77%. And if you do get sick, the flu shot can significantly reduce the duration and severity of symptoms.
In addition to the flu shot, here are 4 ways to avoid the flu or lessen the severity:
1. Wash your hands regularly and often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. A good way to measure out the length you should be washing your hands is to sing the “Happy Birthday Song” slowly, two times.
2. Bulk up on your fruits and vegetables especially those high in zinc and vitamin C like oranges, spinach and garlic. Zinc and Vitamin C, specifically, have immune-boosting effects and can help give your body the strength it needs to fight off foreign invaders that can make us sick.
3. Get plenty of sleep and aim for at least 8 hours each night. Your body repairs and restores itself while we sleep. If we do not get ample rest, our body won’t have the tools or energy to fight off sickness very well. The more shut-eye you can get, the better.
4. Drink at least 8 cups of water each day because our body requires a lot of water to function properly. The more water you drink, the more effectively it can help flush any germs or illness out of our systems more quickly.
The flu can have serious health implications, especially for adults over the age of 50. Don’t wait too long to visit your physician if you are showing signs or symptoms of illness. It is always better to seek medical help earlier than later to help you get better more quickly. Inter Valley Health Plan hosts classes regularly on health and vitality. For a full list of classes in your area, please visit forhealthandliving.com/ivhpevents.
Article From Inter Valley Health Plan