Flu Prevention: Stay Healthy This Winter

flu prevention

It’s finally getting colder here in Central Virginia, and that can only mean one thing—flu season. If you have children, you know they bring home all sorts of germs from school and activities. You’re also exposed to germs from other people pretty much everywhere you go—work, grocery shopping, having dinner with friends, you name it. Unfortunately, if you don’t want to be a hermit and retreat from society completely, you’re going to be exposed to viruses and other contagions, including the flu. But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to avoid getting sick. Our flu prevention tips will help you stay as healthy as possible this winter.

Practice Healthy Habits

This probably won’t come as a shock, but the same habits and behaviors that are recommended for general health can also keep you from getting the flu, or getting over it more quickly if you do get it. If you do these things, you keep your immune system in top fighting shape so it can knock out those viruses when you come in contact with them.

  • Get plenty of sleep – getting enough sleep improves pretty much every aspect of your life and health. That includes keeping you safe from the flu.
  • Eat your fruits and veggies – eating healthy gives your body the quality fuel it needs to keep running at peak performance levels.
  • Exercise – working out improves muscle function and other important body functions, including improving your immune response.

Avoid Contact

Try to avoid close contact with other people, especially if you think they may be sick. Flu is spread person to person, and you can be exposed from up to six feet away. Make sure to wash your hands after you’ve been in contact with others, and don’t touch your face until you.

If you do get sick, try to keep from spreading it to other people by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and by avoiding contact. If possible, stay in bed and rest up.

Get Your Flu Shot

The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months get an annual flu vaccine. Young children, adults over 50, and people with compromised immune function are most at risk and should be prioritized in the event of a shortage. However, ideally everyone who is eligible should be vaccinated.

Even if you are not at high risk yourself, there are benefits to getting your flu shot. Most importantly, of course, you may avoid getting the flu. If you do get the flu, it may be less severe and you could recover more quickly. Getting the vaccine also protects people who can’t be vaccinated themselves or are at high risk for the virus. Even if you don’t get sick yourself, if you aren’t vaccinated, you can be a carrier who infects other people.

If you have questions or concerns about the influenza vaccine, the CDC has extensive resources on the subject.

You can get your flu shot for free at several locations this weekend.

Where: Walmart at 2210 Sheila Lane
When: Friday the 16th from 3 PM to 7 PM

Where: Big Apple Supermarket at 2916 Jefferson Davis Highway
When: Friday the 16th from 3 PM to 7 PM

Where: Bon Secours St. Francis Watkins Centre, 601 Watkins Center Parkway
When: Saturday the 17th from 9 AM to 1 PM

If you can’t make one of these events, ask your doctor or your local pharmacy about getting your flu vaccine.

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Photo: Juhan Sonin

 

 

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