The flu is one of the seemingly unavoidable hazards of everyday life. When temperatures start to drop, the flu comes to town in full force, bringing achy joints, headaches, sneezing, coughing, and increased body temperature to the people it infects. For those who haven’t been vaccinated, contracting the flu means waiting until the body works out a strategy to fight it — but this can take a week or longer. Without doubt, the best way to defend against the flu is to take preventive measures, striking out at the flu before it can get its claws into you.
Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands is your best defense against getting sick. Viruses can live on surfaces for as long as 48 hours, making public restrooms, drinking fountains, gas station pumps, and banks veritable breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria. By washing your hands frequently, you help prevent contaminants from the outside world from making their way inside your body. When you wash your hands, take care to wash them completely, without rushing through your washing. Also, wash your hands with hot water, which kills bacteria much more efficiently than cold water does.
Know What Truly Works
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Despite its widespread use as a cold and flu preventative, the usefulness of vitamin C in helping prevent such illnesses has yet to be demonstrated in a laboratory. New studies show little evidence that vitamin C speeds recovery, either, so guzzling fruit juice when you’re sick might be doing you more harm than good considering your resulting sugar intake. On the other hand, antioxidants, which are found in green tea, deeply colored berries, and red beans, can help prevent and eliminate sickness by boosting your immune system.
Drinking fluids when you are sick, or when you fear you are about to become sick, helps hydrate your respiratory system. Hydration allows the body to combat mucus buildup — which, when left untreated, can intensify illness and even lead to infection. Indeed, sick or not, the body operates more efficiently when hydrated, and drinking water can help move body back into a healthy state of being.
Those who are already fighting the flu can benefit from steam therapy. Simply set the stopper of the bathroom sink and fill the sink with as much hot water as possible. Add a single teaspoon of menthol rub to the solution, then breathe in the steam. Doing so will open your nasal passages, helping clear your clogged airways.
Consult a Doctor
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Your local doctor or family practitioner will always be your primary source of advice when flu season arrives. However, visits to the doctor can be expensive and time-consuming. New apps such as Curely can help you connect with physicians without fearing the cost. By asking simple questions, you can begin building relationships with doctors who specialize in treating you the way you like to be treated all at an affordable rate. Creating such a connection can go a long way toward helping you survive flu season.
Flu’s adaptability may have helped it elude eradication for decades on end, but you’re not without hope in your personal battle against this virus. By using preventive measures before getting the flu, then combative measures if you contract it, you can do your best to reduce your susceptibility to this common illness.