Flu season is not over. The season spans from October to May. There is good reason to remain vigilant and to practice DIY preventive measures. According to the CDC, even at week 8 of the new year, influenza viruses are still infecting a large percentage of the population. The number of people contracting the flu and developing pneumonia is above the expected threshold. People who develop pneumonia have a greater rate of mortality. Here're some practical steps to decrease your risk of getting the flu.
HOW TO DECREASE YOUR RISK OF GETTING THE FLU
1. Get vaccinated. The flu vaccine is developed one year before flu season. The vaccine is developed based on the predictions of researchers. The researchers use data gathered from health centers to guess which influenza viruses are most likely to infect people the following year. The predictions are not 100% accurate and viruses can undergo unexpected mutations. When a virus mutates during vaccine production, the vaccine may not offer protection to the mutated virus.
2. Take supplements. The Cleveland Clinic website reads that vitamins C, B6 and vitamin E will boost your immune system. People taking these vitamins decrease their risk of catching the flu.
3. Eat a healthy diet: Eliminate process foods. Decreased your consumption of red meat and increase your servings of fresh fruits and vegetables. Eating more fresh organic vegetables helps your body mount a strong defense against the flu. If organic vegetables are not in your budget, check out the environmental working group website at https://www.ewg.org for the list of highly contaminated foods. These foods are best eaten as organic. If you just cannot eat 5-9 servings of vegetables, put a couple of serverings into your juicer and make fresh juice.
4. Eat probiotics. The immune system is largely based in your gut. Probiotics help intestinal bacteria break down food. Probiotics also help bacteria produce vitamins. You don’t need to buy expensive probiotics. Just eat more fermented foods: Kimchi, Kombucha, pickles, kefir, buttermilk
5. Drink water. Water is essential! Men need 1 gallon of fluid a day and women about 3/4 gallon. Exercise and environmental temperature can changes how much water your body needs. You can get tips on buy a water filter in my book “What’s in Your Drinking Water and How to Make it Safer” available at bit.ly/saferwater.
Avoid sugary beverages and sodas because sugar decreases your immune response. The immune system can be suppressed for 30 minutes, long enough for you to catch the flu.
6. Exercise. Don’t let the cool weather stop you from exercising. Exercise boost your immune system. Find an indoor walking area or use your gym membership. Avoid exercising outdoors during extreme weather conditions.
7. Get proper sleep. When it comes to sleep, lots of people cheat. Most people need between 7.5-9 hours of sleep each night. A good night's sleep allows your immune system to function at peak capacity to fight the flu.
8. Limit your exposure to the virus. Avoid people with flu-like symptoms. If you must be in crowded areas, wear a face mask. The mask may not stop small viruses from entering your respiratory system but it will stop sprays associated with coughing. Disinfect surfaces like table tops, light switches and door knobs. Wash your hands often. Carry hand sanitizer for use in between hand washing.
These DIY tips should help navigate safely through flu season