This time of year is all about family gatherings, holiday treats, and reflections on another year past. But behind these seasonal delights lurks a menace poised to pounce on your health and happiness: the flu.
Amid the recent concerns over COVID-19 variants and RSV, the flu doesn’t get as much coverage as it once did. And for most people, an attack of the flu –– or influenza –– is just a miserable inconvenience. But for others, especially those ages 65 and older, the flu can be a life-threatening affliction. So, as you get into the swing of the holidays, it’s important to remember the following tips so you can avoid the frightful flu!
Wash and be watchful
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the flu virus can survive on some surfaces for up to 48 hours. Just imagine how many surfaces you touch in two days! After spending time in public, it’s important to wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based sanitizer. And always refrain from touching your eyes, nose and face to avoid infection, from the flu or otherwise.
Pay attention to people around you when you are out in public. If someone is showing signs of a sickness, such as sneezing, coughing, or a runny nose, respectfully avoid direct contact with that person. And never eat or drink after anyone, even friends or relatives.
Your immune system is your body’s security system against illness. But many people forget that a healthy lifestyle can positively impact your body’s defenses. To help your immune system function at its best, you should:
Be wary of immune system “boosters” and other trendy health supplements. Many of these haven’t been tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and could lead to further health complications. Always talk to your doctor before adding any supplements to your diet.
A recent study shows that the flu vaccine could reduce your risk for a flu infection by 40 to 60 percent. And those who still get the flu after receiving the vaccine are more likely to experience mild, non-life-threatening symptoms. Talk to your doctor or visit your local vaccination clinic to learn more about the flu vaccine.
Schedule regular health screenings so you can be aware of your condition and how susceptible you may be to infections. And always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
This is the time of year for gratitude and good cheer. Don’t let a flu infection foil your holiday joy!