It is that time of the year when flu activity peaks. With incidences already reported across the country, you should brace yourself for this inevitable epidemic. And since the flu chooses its targets randomly, you never know if you’ll be the next person sneezing and coughing your lungs out. Therefore, how do you prepare yourself for a flu outbreak? These are a few suggestions.

1. Get Vaccinated

When it comes to the flu, it is always better to be safe than sorry. One way to be safe is by getting the flu vaccination. Experts recommend the flu vaccine to anyone above the age of 6 months, especially for children and adults over 65 years old. Also, you should consider taking the vaccine every year, especially around the outbreak of the epidemic. 

Something to keep in mind is that the flu vaccine interacts with people differently depending on certain factors. Some of those factors include a person’s age and health. Most importantly, the effectiveness of the vaccine depends on how well it’s matched for the flu virus currently circulating. 

One significant advantage of the vaccination is that it lowers your susceptibility to influenza infection by up to 60%. But remember, flu vaccine doesn’t treat the condition completely. Being a viral infection, the vaccine can only reduce its severity. A vaccinated person is unlikely to be hospitalized limiting the disruption that you experience.

2. Keep Those Hands Clean

Proper hand washing may sound cliché, but it makes all the difference during a flu outbreak. Most of us do not wash our hands properly. The areas we often ignore include the backs of our hands as well as the areas around our fingernails and between the fingers. Sadly, those are the very places where viruses flourish. It only takes shaking the hands of an infected person for you to join the statistics. 

Fortunately, you can keep the flu virus at bay by thoroughly washing your hands. Ensure that every hand washing lasts at least 20 seconds. To completely rid your hands of the virus, use warm water and soap. And while you’re at it, pay keen attention to the three areas mentioned above. Make hand washing a habit, especially after visiting the toilet, before eating and after spending long hours outdoors.

3. Clean and Disinfect Surfaces

The flu virus lingers on certain surfaces much longer. These are objects we come in contact with more often, both at home and in the office. Examples include refrigerator handles, light switches, computer mouse, door knobs and TV remotes. Not to mention furniture items like tables, chairs, and bedding. 

It’s rather difficult to avoid most of these surfaces. However, you can clean and disinfect them as frequently as possible. Things you can clean include your bed and table linen. As for electronic surfaces, you’ll require a disinfectant that kills germs such as Clorox wipes. When cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, give special attention to kid stuff, such as their dolls, IPad and other toys.

4. Strengthen Your Immune System

Like any other infection, flu deals a severe blow on our immune systems. Therefore, one of the most effective ways to mitigate its effects is to strengthen our immune systems. Eating a balanced diet is a great starting point. Insist on immune-boosting foods such as fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole foods. 

If you’re already infected, be sure to also invest in energy-boosting foods. That is the only way to remain energetic in the face of those persistent coughs and sneezes. Along with eating a balanced diet, remember to take in sufficient fluids. Water isn’t enough – complement it with energy drinks and other liquid supplements that will hydrate and replace essential electrolytes.

5. Consult Your Physician 

Contrary to popular belief, flu can be life-threatening, especially if you do not seek urgent medical intervention. It doesn’t matter how mild or severe the symptoms present themselves. You should remember to consult your physician throughout the duration of the illness.  The doctor will run a series of tests to establish whether you have any other underlying medical condition. That way, they will know the right medication to recommend. Even though you are only suffering from the flu, your physician will advise you on the right measures to take to prevent it from being contagious. 

While consulting your physician should be a general convention, it is usually especially encouraged if you experience persistent and severe symptoms. Flu affects everyone at some point in their life. For some people, it simply comes and goes. But for most of us, it leaves a lasting impression. During outbreak seasons, your best bet is to get vaccinated. Moreover, if you contract the virus, the above tips might help promote your recovery process, while keeping everyone else safe. 

Conclusion

It can be a full time job trying to healthy during the busy flu season. But there are ways that you can protect yourself and others in your family. A simple thing such as frequently washing your hands or following up with your primary care physician during the onset of your symptoms, could be the difference between your comfort and severe sickness.

Prevention is always the best strategy. Being pro-active in your fight against the flu, feeding your body the proper nourishment and getting the necessary vaccinations. This is especially important if you are above 60, suffer from other illnesses or if you’re pregnant (the flu shot is safe for pregnant women). Whatever your chosen methods are, it is important to keep in mind that the flu is not an illness to be disregarded or taken lightly.

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