Getting the flu is quite common these days, especially since we’re in the middle of the fall, which is a part of the flu season. During the flu season, which starts from the fall to the end of winter, avoiding contracting the flu can be tricky. The flu is a highly contagious respiratory infection that is easily contracted, especially by people with poor immune systems. Common symptoms include but are limited to:
- Body aches
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
Luckily for us, there are specific habits that are very good that we can learn if we want to reduce our chances of getting the flu during this time of year. Here are some of them.
Avoiding large crowds might be difficult because of school and work, but it’s one of the most effective ways to avoid getting the flu. The flu can spread quickly in confined places with many people. Examples of these areas are schools, office spaces, nursing homes, etc. If you can’t avoid it and have a weak immune system, wearing a face mask effectively avoids the flu.
Also, if you think someone is sick, try your best to avoid them. Always keep your distance at least a few meters away from anyone coughing or sneezing. If you can, try going to another room away from them.
The flu virus can live on hard surfaces like walls, railings, etc. That said, getting into the habit of constantly washing your hands after you’ve touched anything is essential. This is especially true if you’re handling food and every after you use the toilet.
If a washroom is not accessible in your place or you don’t have the privileges to go to a washroom any time you want, one thing you can do is bring a bottle of sanitizing gel, which is an excellent alternative to soap and water.
Not only should you wash your hands regularly, but a good habit of going alongside that is to avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes. The flu virus can be airborne, but it’s also very common for people to contract it by touching their nose, eyes, and mouth after touching anything with their hands. To avoid touching your face when you cough or sneeze, you can do it with a tissue or with your elbow.
Some people think getting a flu vaccination at least once is enough to last them a lifetime. However, that’s far from the truth. You should get an annual flu vaccination since the predominant flu virus changes yearly, especially this year since the flu predictions are especially bad for 2022-2023. This means that you should also update your flu vaccination every year.
Due to a high risk of complications, people above the age of 65 should get their flu vaccinations very early, at least by late October. If you’re over 65, you can talk to your doctor about getting a high-dose or adjuvant vaccine, especially FLUAD and Fluzone. Both of these vaccinations are very effective for people at this age.
A high dose of vaccine contains about four times more than the amount of antigen in a regular flu vaccine. On the other hand, an adjuvant vaccine contains a substance that stimulates the immune system. With these shots, the immune system can build a very effective immune response to the flu.
Not only do antiviral drugs improve the symptoms of the flu, but they can also prevent people from contracting them. This drug works by fighting the flu virus and preventing it from multiplying in the body. So if you think you have a flu symptom, you can take an antiviral to prevent it from developing into a full-blown sickness.
However, you should know that most people with uncomplicated flu cases don’t need treatment, especially if they have a robust immune system. In these cases, taking a rest and drinking huge amounts of fluids is enough to stop the flu from developing.
Quitting smoking has a lot of health benefits, including a reduced chance of getting the flu. And not only that, but it can be very beneficial for you and the people around you. People who smoke have an exaggerated immune response to viruses, including flu viruses.
As a result, they are more likely to develop fatal complications in a bout of severe flu. This is the same for the people constantly inhaling your secondhand smoke, and sometimes, they are even more dangerous due to this.
The flu season starts in the fall and ends in the winter, which is quite a long time if you want to avoid getting the flu. Luckily for us, there are many ways to reduce our chances of getting sick, some of which are discussed above. By keeping yourself healthy during the flu season, you are protecting yourself and the people around you.