This year the flu is a bigger issue than ever before. With the pandemic still in the news as a major concern, the danger is real. The problem is that the flu can be life-threatening, especially to the elderly, the immunocompromised, and the very young. If you or someone you love becomes seriously ill with the flu, hospitalization may be required. If the Covid surge continues, as it is predicted to do by some this year, the hospitals may be at capacity. The best thing to do is not get the flu to begin with. That may be easier said than done, but there are very effective measures you can take to really increase your chances of not contracting the flu.
Here are some ideas to prevent contracting the flu this year:
- Get the Flu Shot and Covid Vaccine
Every year an amazing thing happens. Scientists around the world formulate a vaccine to help prevent the spread and the severity of the influenza virus. It is always recommended for senior citizens, those who suffer from immune diseases, and those with jobs that include a lot of contact with others. These jobs include school teachers, frontline workers, and medical personnel.
This year, however, especially with the lingering pandemic, the CDC has recommended the shot for anyone who can take it. This means that every person over the age of 6 months old should take it. The only people who should skip it are those allergic to certain ingredients within the vaccine.
This year is also noteworthy because it is the second winter of the pandemic. If you have not done so, it is imperative that you get your Covid Vaccine. Also, check out the new CDC guidelines for getting the booster shot.
Remember – the Covid vaccine does not protect you from the flu, and the flu vaccine does not protect you from Covid. You must get both. The good news? It is safe to get both shots at the same time!
- Wash your hands!
…And use sanitizer when a sink with soap is not available. It is something we have all heard enough to “make us sick,” but, ironically, it could just be the thing that saves you from a bad case of the flu. Wash your hands every time you enter a new place, have an exchange where you touch things that others have touched, sit down to eat, or touch your face (applying makeup or chapstick, etc.).
A lot of us use gloves in the winter to stay warm. There is a tendency to think that our hands are “safe” in gloves. This can lead to us touching our faces with the gloved hand, and that is certainly not “safe.”
- Pay attention to your health
This means that you should work on your immune system, but also avoid going out when you are ill. Even if you don’t have the flu, if you have a cold you may be more susceptible to new infections.
As far as your immune system goes, the best defense is healthy eating, staying warm, and getting enough sleep. Taking the proper dose of vitamin C is good for your immune system as well as the rest of your body.
The bottom line is this – getting the flu happens, but there are steps to take to lessen your chances of getting it or of getting very sick from it. Especially if you are over 65 years old, have an infant or small child, or have a high-risk profession, getting ahead of the problem and being prepared is the best gift you can give yourself, or someone you love, this year.