How to Avoid the Flu and Colds this Season

cold-flu

As the temperatures drop, and darkness comes earlier, more and more people seem to succumb to seasonal colds and flus. CNN reports the best ways to avoid falling ill this season. Their advice can be summed up into four main tips.

Get your Flu Shot

Most cases of the flu occur between October and May. According to the Center for Disease Control, now is the prime time for everyone older than six months of age to be vaccinated, to avoid being one of the approximately 200,000 hospitalized each year from influenza virus and related health complications, or one of the nearly 18,000 fatalities from the H1N1 flu strain. The vaccine gives you 60% better odds of avoiding getting sick at all, and reduces severity of symptoms if you do contract the virus after vaccination because of your partial immunity. While many fear becoming ill with the flu as a result of the vaccine. This, however, is impossible. It merely triggers your immune system with dead versions of the most common flu strains to create antibodies against the live virus you encounter in real life. Women are more likely than men to be hospitalized for the flu. A sore arm and a little redness is worth avoiding becoming ill all together.

Avoid People Who are Already Sick

The flu is transmitted most commonly when sick people sneeze, and project water droplets full of virus from their bodies into the 6 to 10 foot radius around them, where they can enter your body. If you are next to someone, at work or in transit, who has an achy body and is coughing or sneezing, try to move out of the contact range. If you are around sick people, wash your hands, use hand sanitizer, and make sure you have freshly cleaned hands before touching your eyes, nose, or face. Don’t share beverages, kisses, or food with any loved ones who are already sick, and if you’re sick, stay home and away from anyone you could infect.

Get Lots of Rest

Sleeping eight hours or more can make the difference between getting sick and avoiding colds and flus. Studies have shown that people who have enough rest are less likely to come down with a cold, than those who slept fewer than seven hours, even when directly exposed to a virus. In lieu of sleep, meditation can be almost as good. People who meditated were 30% less likely to become ill. Practice sitting silently, and focusing on taking deep breaths in and out for a few minutes a day until the cold and flu season ends.

Eat Less Fat and More Vitamin D, Fruits, and Vegetables

The fuel you give your body to run on impacts its ability to fend off disease. Cutting back on fatty foods, and eating more fruits and vegetables can help it to mount a more effective immune response if you are exposed to potential infection. Eating one fruit or veggie with every meal, especially those that are orange and deep green in color, can give you the antioxidants you need to combat viruses. Increasing your intake of Vitamin D can provide further protection, and making sure you have enough calories and nutrients for a well-balanced diet to make sure your body’s defense system is fully stocked.

Content Courtesy of CNN. Image Courtesy of CNN.