Flu season is coming, and every year it takes a heavy toll. In a typical year, thousands of people die from this common virus, and the dangers are very real. Fortunately, there is still time to get ready, and still time to protect yourself and the people you love. Here are four simple ways to reduce your risk of getting the flu and passing it on.
#1 Get Vaccinated
The seasonal flu vaccine may not be perfect, but it is still your best defense. If you are eligible to receive the vaccine, and the vast majority of children and adults are, you should get it.
Chances are good that the flu vaccine will provide at least some level of protection against the seasonal virus, so your chances of getting sick should drop precipitously after you receive the shot. Even if you do come down with the flu, the protection offered by the vaccine will help your body fight back, and that could reduce the duration and severity of your symptoms.
#2 Wash Your Hands
It may seem basic, but simply washing your hands can reduce your odds of getting sick. If you do fall ill, regular and thorough hand washing can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Wash your hands with soap and hot water and work the soap into a thick lather before rinsing it away. Both the antibacterial properties of the soap and the mechanical action of washing your hands can reduce the number of virus particles on your skin.
#3 Eat Right and Take Good Care of Yourself
The flu virus is everywhere this time of year, but not everyone is equally susceptible. The better your overall health, the less chance you have of falling ill, even if you are exposed to the virus.
Eating right, exercising and taking good care of your health can help you protect yourself, and your loved ones, from the damage the flu can do. Self-care is not a universal remedy, but taking care of yourself is a good place to start.
#4 Stay Home if You Feel Ill
Sometimes your best efforts will not succeed, and despite vaccination, hand washing and good nutrition, you could still end up getting sick. If you do feel ill, with the flu or a simple cold, staying home is the best way to prevent the spread of the virus.
The flu virus spreads quickly, so the more people you are exposed to, the greater the odds you will pass on your illness. The flu can be deadly to certain segments of the population, including young children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems, so preventing its spread is the responsible thing to do.