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woman sick with the flu lying on couch with blanket and tissues
January 11, 2024

Getting sick with the flu can make you feel miserable and cause you to miss out on work, school, and social activities. The flu can cause unpleasant symptoms such as fever, chills, body aches, headaches, fatigue, sore throat, cough, and nasal congestion. Fortunately, there are things you can do to avoid catching the flu to keep yourself and your loved ones healthy. Here’s a list of some habits and tips that can help you stay healthy during flu season.

1. Wash Your Hands

The best defense to protect yourself during flu season is washing your hands often. Research suggests that regular hand washing can reduce the transmission of respiratory illness by more than 20 percent. Wash your hands as often as you can, especially if you have been in a high-traffic area or around people who may be sick. For maximum effectiveness, make sure you scrub your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

2. Get Enough Sleep

woman sleeping in a dark room while wearing an eye mask

Sleep is vital for optimal function of all your body’s systems, including your immune system. Getting quality sleep on a regular basis builds up your immune system so your body can fight off illnesses such as the flu. If you want to avoid getting sick this flu season, try to get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Studies show that individuals who average less than seven hours of sleep per night are up to three times more likely to catch respiratory illnesses such as colds and flu.

3. Avoid Close Contact with Sick People

If you want to stay healthy during flu season, it’s best to try to avoid being around people who are sick or who are exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The flu virus is transmitted primarily through droplets that enter the air when an infected person sneezes, coughs, or even talks. If these droplets get into your mouth, nose, or eyes, or you touch a surface on which these droplets have landed and then touch your face, you can get infected with the virus.

4. Don’t Touch Your Face

man rubbing eye

Even if you are washing your hands regularly, it is still possible to get the flu virus on your hands between washes. That’s why it’s very important to avoid touching your face during flu season. Your mouth, nose, and eyes are common entry points for germs such as the flu virus, and touching these parts of your face can transmit the virus from your hands into your body where it can make you sick.

5. Sanitize Surfaces

As mentioned above, the flu virus is transmitted through droplets that are spread when a sick person sneezes, coughs, or talks. These droplets can land on surfaces up to 24 feet away. The flu virus can survive on hard surfaces for several hours or even several days. If you touch or use the infected surface, you can transfer the virus to your body. It’s best to disinfect surfaces often during flu season to lower the chances of transmission. Sanitize surfaces such as countertops, door handles, phones, light switches, gym equipment, toys, thermometers, remotes, etc.

6. Eat Nutritious Foods

assortment of healthy fruits, vegetables, and legumes

You can help boost your immune system’s ability to fight sickness like the flu by eating the right nutrients in your diet. Research suggests that nutrients such as vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc help support a healthy immune system and may even help prevent or reduce the duration of colds and flu. Try adding immunity-boosting foods that are high in vitamins to your diet during flu season to give your body a better chance at fighting off the flu.

Learn More About Your Health with Freedom Functional Medicine

These healthy habits can help protect your body from getting infected by the flu virus and boost your immune system’s ability to fend off sickness. Here at Freedom Functional Medicine, our goal is to help patients achieve better health and wellness by treating the root cause of illnesses and helping your body heal itself. If you are interested in improving your overall health, schedule a consultation with one of our experts to learn more about how we can help you on your journey toward a healthier life!

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