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How do we protect ourselves from the flu?

How do we protect ourselves from the flu?

Changing seasons does not always come with good news. Often, this can increase the occurrence of colds or viruses, so it is essential to know how we protect ourselves and what we can do to avoid such unpleasant situations.

As for today’s topic, we all know that lately things have taken a rather strange turn. With this occasion, we considered it important to do some kind of informing.

Did you know that most people get a minimum of 2 colds a year? Well, you could also be one of the 1 in 5 Americans coming down with the flu. Do not worry though, you can beat those odds and make this cold and flu season different if you take the right steps, which we will present later on our discussion.

A good placed to start is by understanding the differences between terms. Cold and flu are similar, but the two conditions are different in manifestation. Both are caused by viruses which are contagious. Often the cold is mild, it starts slowly but may take longer. There is this old saying that a cold can last for 7 days if it’s treated and a whole week if it’s not. The flu is often more severe, happens suddenly and passes in a shorter period of time.

Various researches showed that people who practice good hygiene, get sick less often than those who do not regularly wash their hands or cover their mouths when they cough. One of the best ways to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year (although it is a very delicate topic, that can stir up discussions pretty easily), but good health habits can often help stop germ spread and prevent respiratory diseases such as flu. Thus, if there is one tip to take seriously during the cold and flu season, it is to soap up at the sink. A 2011 survey conducted by the Hygiene Council, an international group to reduce the spread of infectious disease, examined the hygiene behaviors of more than 1,000 people in 12 countries. The results were the following:

  • Respondents who reported being concerned about good manners (such as covering their mouths to avoid affecting others with cough or sneeze) were 2.5 times more likely to report avoiding colds and flu.
  • Respondents who considered hand-washing a common practice were twice as likely as those who didn’t care about hand-washing to report better health.
  • Women were 1.6 times more likely than men to frequently wash their hands with soap, and were 1.3 times more likely to report frequent cleaning of home surfaces.
  • People over age of 55 were 1.6 times more likely than younger adults to wash their hands with soap.

Since we are not doctors, and all of our writings are either from personal experience and knowledge, or from after long exploration, we should get to the main point of this article and find out together how to protect ourselves and stay healthy during the most difficult period of the season.

  1. Consume tons of fruits! Fresh fruit not only tastes good but also strengthens your immune system. For example, bananas, apples and grapes provide the necessary vitamin B and energy boosts. Also, instead of coffee, try ginger tea with honey and a slice of lemon.

  1. Stay hydrated! Increasing your intake of water will help you stay healthy and reduce your chances of getting down with flu. Drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by fever when you’re feeling under the weather, loosens mucus and keeps your throat moist. Warm liquids are preferable, and there is some evidence to suggest that inhaling steam early in the course of a cold or flu may reduce the spread of viruses in your upper airway.
  2. Get some fresh air! Breaks are important, and fresh air helps clear your head. Even if it is cold, fresh air keeps your brain on its toes. Take a break, therefore, at least once in the afternoon to regain energy. In addition, the office should also be ventilated on a regular basis because dry, sticky air causes viruses and makes employees tired, which can kill productivity.
  3. Maintain a good hygiene! Good hygiene is necessary for any season. In winter, however, employees should prioritize their hygiene above all else. Wash your hands with plenty of soap and warm water to effectively kill all bacteria and viruses. In addition, employers should provide disinfectant gels in all kitchens and bathrooms.
  4. Take the day off if needed! Nobody benefits when your colleagues cough and sneeze. When a team member is sick and stays at work, they could unintentionally make the entire office sick. Therefore, if you’re feeling sick, stay at home to recover properly.
  5. Have a good diet! Fresh, healthy food is good for the body and the soul, therefore make it a priority. Research shows that diets that are too low in protein can deplete the immune system. So, make sure you get foods that are rich in protein all day long, especially fish, eggs and yogurt.
  6. Avoid close contact! Avoid intimate contact with sick people. Keep your distance from others when you are sick, to protect them from getting sick too.
  7. Get a good night’s sleep!  Sleeplessness can deeply inhibit your immune system. Get a full night’s sleep to keep the natural defenses of your body to optimum efficiency.
  8. Exercise regularly! Regular exercise can not only reduce stress, but research suggests exercise can stimulate the immune system and promote healthy sleep. In a study reported in Sports and Exercise in Medicine and Science, scientists found that modest exercise could prevent elderly people from getting colds and flu.
  9. Do your laundry! Clothing, towels and bedding can be a key culprit in spreading infectious germs and flu, and yes, those favorite stuffed animals fall into this category too. Wash items in the hottest water, and use color-safe bleach to wipe off germs.

Viruses are present throughout the year, but there are ways of preparing for cold and flu season and reducing chances of getting sick. Getting an annual flu vaccine and exercising good hygiene are great ways for one person and others to protect themselves. Some lifestyle and dietary changes that may decrease the likelihood of getting sick include regular exercise, zinc and fiber intake, and a good sleeping schedule.

Obviously, these tips are not universally valid and cannot be considered 100% effective, but if taken into consideration, they can help strengthen a person’s immune system.

It is important to know what our body needs and what we can do to help and protect it. Also, it is our duty to take care of ourselves, to have a healthy lifestyle and not to panic if something really happens. Panic is more and more common among people, sometimes appearing even in moments of uncertainty.

 

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