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Tips for preventing the flu

Flu season is here again, and with its arrival comes the possibility that you’ll end up coughing, sneezing and aching your way through winter. Probability doesn’t have to become reality, though: You can avoid becoming a flu statistic this year. Here are some easy and important ways to stave off the virus.

steps to prevent flu
1Get the flu shot

The single most important — and easiest — way to prevent getting the flu this season is to get the flu shot. Health Canada recommends a yearly flu vaccine for nearly everyone, especially for those at a high risk of developing complications as a result of the flu. See your doctor to discuss your flu shot options and whether you’re a good candidate to get the shot.

2Don’t share food/drinks

Germs travel through saliva and bodily fluids, so avoid sharing utensils and dishes with anyone else. Even if someone doesn’t look sick, she could still be infected with the flu virus.

3Wash your hands with soap and water

Research by the Public Health Agency of Canada shows soap and water is more effective at stopping the spread of infection than antibacterial gels and sanitizer. The key is knowing how to wash your hands properly. To kill all bacteria you’ve picked up during your commute or by shaking someone’s hand, rub your paws together vigorously for 10 seconds –or for as long as it takes for you to sing Happy Birthday — ensuring you clean between your fingers and under your fingernails.

4Eat a balanced diet

The immune system requires a variety of nutrients to keep you healthy and to run at optimal effectiveness, so eat a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. One of the most crucial flu-fighting vitamins is vitamin C; its antioxidant compounds stave off free radical damage and boost the body’s production of white blood cells, which the immune system uses to fight bacteria.

5Get enough sleep

The body requires rest to heal and repair itself from the free-radical damage it sustains during the day. Getting seven to 10 hours of sleep a night is also necessary to maintain a healthy immune system. Ensure your sleeping environment is conducive to sleep — that means dark and cool — and always make resting up a priority.

expert tip

“Low-tech, basic hygienic measures can be very effective in preventing the flu. These measures include washing hands frequently, disinfecting surfaces and door handles, avoiding close exposure to people suspected to be infected with flu, eating a healthy whole-foods diet and getting proper sleep.” – Dr. Eric Udell, N.D.

 

Read more

Who needs a flu shot?
5 Ways to prevent the seasonal flu
5 Flu myths

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