Many people think of the flu as a minor annoyance that happens during cold weather. Many people forget about just how many people have died from influenza strains in the past. Even now, there is often a few deaths occurring every few weeks from the flu. It is important that you protect yourself and anyone else that is vulnerable. While it may seem impossible to do, there are some strategies that you can follow to reduce your chances of getting the flu. You don’t even have to hide indoors for weeks or cover yourself in a protective suit!
These seven simple steps will help to get you and your loved ones safe through another season.
Seven Simple Steps to Avoid Catching the Flu
- Get the Flu Shot
- Stay Away From Sick People
- Wear a Face Mask
- Wash Your Hands Frequently
- Avoid Touching Your Mouth, Nose, and Eyes
- Wipe Down Common Areas
- Take Care of Your Body
The Seven Steps Explained
The easiest way to avoid getting the flu is to get the vaccine every time that it is available. There are a lot of people who don’t get the shot because they know people who had it but they got the flu anyway. What a lot of people don’t know is that there is a multitude of different strains of flu every year. Scientists have to try to predict which strain is going to be the big one each year and create a vaccine for that specific strain.
That means that not everyone who is vaccinated is completely safe because they might contract a less “popular” version.
That doesn’t mean that you should not get the flu vaccine. Every year you probably hear about people that it didn’t work for and miss hearing about all the people that it saved, This is the number one way to avoid getting the flu each year, so find somewhere that is offering the vaccines and head over.
Some people may sometimes experience some side effects from the flu shot. Most of these are what you would expect, like headache, fever, nausea and some muscle pain. This typically comes from the very small amount of flu virus within the shot which allows your body to develop an immunity.
If you have a compromised immune system, are allergic, or have beliefs that don’t support vaccines, there are other ways to keep yourself safe. Most of these come down to basic hygiene behaviors but you would be surprised how many people skip them.
First and foremost, you should stay away from sick people. Do your absolute best to not stay in their vicinity to avoid having their germs infect you from coughing or sneezing. However, there are times that you cannot avoid sick people either on the street, at home, or at work.
If that is the case, then we highly encourage you to wear a face mask. Face masks have become increasingly common in many Asian countries as a way to keep themselves from getting sick. In North America, there’s a stigma that suggests something is wrong if you choose to do this. If you are uncomfortable wearing one every time you go outside, you can always choose to wear one during the height of the flu season.
Even if you follow all of these steps, you are still putting yourself at risk if you aren’t taking basic hygiene steps. You should be washing your hands after you touch shared items or use the restroom and you should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. By not touching your face you are lessening the chances of getting bacteria from your hands directly into your system. You can also make it a habit to wipe down common areas at work and at home with antibacterial wipes to protect yourself even further.
The last step has more to do with preventing the flu if it gets into your system. If you are taking good care of your body, then your chances of getting the flu go down. That includes:
- Sleep 8 Hours Every Night
- Be Active
- Drink Enough Water Daily
- Eat a Balanced Diet
- Reduce Stress in Your Life
When your body is tired and full of junk food then your immune system doesn’t function correctly. That means that you are compromised and have a greater chance to get the flu when compared to an active person who gets 8 hours of sleep and eats a healthy diet.
These steps will give you the best chance of avoiding the flu this year and in years to come. If you do come down with the flu, try to stay home and always cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing to lessen chances of someone around you getting infected too.
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