How to Prevent Flu
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
We usually think that flu is a non-serious condition that we all have no choice but to put up with. On the contrary, the flu is highly contagious and every year tens of thousands of Canadians are hospitalised with it. Many even die of it. Flu is not the same as the common cold.
So What can you do to prevent the flu?
- The best way to prevent catching the flu is by getting vaccinated whenever the vaccine for a given year becomes available. The best time is in the early fall, but any other time is fine. It helps your immune system to build resistance against the most common strands of flu for any given year. If you are pregnant or otherwise unhealthy, a nasal flu mist is available which has a slightly weaker effect, but which should still protect you from it.
- Good hygiene is the second best preventative measure. Flu germs live for hours on surfaces on which a sufferer has sneezed or coughed, so if you touch them and bring your hands near your mouth or nose, you are at risk of catching the virus. Sufferers also spread it through airborne droplets. Keep your hands away from your face and wash them regularly. During the winter, carry alcohol swabs or other waterless cleaning liquids with you. If a relative or co-worker has flu, turn away from them while you speak to them. If you have no choice but to share an office with a flu sufferer, use disinfectant wipes to clean the desk or computer keyboard that you share.
- Children and elderly people who live in the house with a flu sufferer can benefit from discussing preventative anti-viral medication with a doctor. Good hygiene might not be sufficient to prevent the spread of germs in close quarters, so those in high-risk groups may need some specialist help.
- The healthier you are, the stronger your immune system is and the more likely it is to fend off unwanted flu viruses. So eat vegetables and exercise. If you do it daily, it becomes a habit and thus substantially easier.