3 Ways to Cut Down the Chances of Getting the Flu

virusWinter time is flu season. There's just no way around it. But just because the flu is going around doesn't mean you have to become infected. While the only way to completely prevent the flu is to isolate yourself from friends, family and the public, you can cut down on the chances of you becoming sick. There are several common sense ways you can get down the chances of coming down with flu.

1. Wash your hands. A lot. It's one of the best and most effective ways to prevent disease. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds using warm to hot water and soap. It doesn't have to be an antibacterial soap because the flu is caused by a virus not a bacteria. The virus won't be killed. The heat from the water and rubbing your hands together gets rid of the virus. If you're out and about and don't have access to soap and water use a hand sanitizer gel that is alcohol based. Use a generous dollop and rub on your hands until it evaporates. Wash your hands after you've been out in public.

2. Stay away from crowds. The flu is airborne within a 6-foot distance. The virus is carried on water droplets that are expelled from the nasal passages, throat and lungs through sneezing, coughing and breathing. If you aren't where the crowds are - you won't be exposed as much. If the flu season is especially bad and you're in the more at risk groups because of your age or damaged immune system, consider wearing an air filter mask when you're in crowds. Make sure you wash your hands after you remove the mask.

3. Don't touch your mouth or nose with your hands, use a tissue. The flu is spread through the virus being introduced to the host - that's you. If the virus is on your hand because you touched a surface that someone else did who had the virus and then touch your nose or mouth you increase the chances of getting sick yourself. Use the tissue only once and throw it away after usage. Don't touch door handles in public areas if you can help it, or stair rails, even grocery shopping carts can carry the virus for awhile. Many grocery stores now provide disinfectant wipes to clean the handles of the cart.

Use these common sense rules to decrease the chance you'll get sick from flu.

Keep The Flu Virus at Bay With a Healthy Lifestyle

One of the reasons the human body is so amazing is that it is always dealing with threats such as infection from bacteria or viruses—but most of the time we don’t get sick because our immune system is working 24/7 to combat these threats. Having a healthy immune system is one of the reasons many of us don’t succumb to illness even during the normal cold and flu seasons of the year. Conversely, bad lifestyle habits can seriously weaken our immune systems and make us more susceptible to infection.

It is generally accepted that a number of factors completely under our control can help boost our immune systems. Eating a balanced diet is one element of keeping your immune system strong. This includes making sure you get the right balance and dosage of vitamins, either from our diet or from vitamin supplements.

We are often told that when we’re sick we should drink plenty of fluids, but drinking sufficient fluids is actually something we should do every day to help us prevent getting sick in the first place. Liquids help the body flush toxins from the system. Many times, germs such as the flu are swept from our respiratory system before they have a chance to multiply and cause us to become ill. All liquids count but water is the cheapest and most convenient.

Getting plenty of sleep is important. Fatigue makes it more difficult for your body to repair itself. Regular exercise is important not just for disease prevention in the short run but to make sure we maintain good health throughout our lives. Chronic high levels of stress is thought to contribute to weakening the immune system, so employing stress management techniques not only can help us feel better mentally, but may also help our immune system work at top efficiency.

The flu is caused by a virus, so don't think that taking a course of antibiotics will lessen the symptoms or prevent infection. It won't. Antibiotics have no effect on the flu virus or any virus for that matter. Antibiotics are effective in killing bacteria. What may be a little confusing is that your body produces antibodies against the virus when infected. But antibodies are not at all the same thing as antibiotics. A strong healthy body produces lots of antibodies when invaded by the flu.

A positive lifestyle can boost the odds of staying healthy and avoiding not only the flu but other types of diseases.

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