Is it just us or is EVERYONE coming down with the flu this year?  It seems worse than ever and there have already been over 700 confirmed cases in Boston!  Boston has even declared a public health emergency as of Wednesday.   If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how miserable it can be, and if you haven’t had it consider yourself lucky because you definitely don’t want it!  The aches, pains, chills, fever, and vomiting are enough to knock anyone down for a few days.  So, what can you do to prevent the onset of the flu?  Follow these tips to minimize your chances of coming down with it!

  • Get your flu shot!  It’s not too late and did you know they are available in every CVS store?  This is your best defense against the flu and the Food and Drug Administration is recommending that everyone 6 months or older get their flu shot.
  • Practice basic sanitation.  This includes washing your hands after going to the bathroom,sneezing, or coughing.  When you wash your hands use hot water and plenty of soap, it should take you about 30 seconds to wash your hands thoroughly.  Be sure to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and if you have children, make sure they are doing the same!  Germs spread especially quickly amongst children so it is very important that they understand how critical it is to wash their hands and cover their mouths.
  • Get your 7-8 hours of sleep!  You need to get plenty of rest to fight off the flu, it helps keep your immune system strong so it is especially important to get enough sleep during this time of year when sickness is on the rise.
  • Drink your fluids!  Whether you have the flu or are trying to prevent it, your body needs to stay as hydrated as possible.  Water helps carry important nutrients to cells so you should try to drink 8 oz of water for every hour that you’re awake.  Orange Juice is another great option that you want in your refrigerator because of the immune boosting Vitamin C it provides.
  • Avoid sugar.  Did you know that sugar can actually decrease your immune system’s ability to fight off infection?  So put down those left over holiday treats and back away slowly!
  • Try to eat as many fruits and veggies as possible, they contain tons of vitamins and nutrients that help your immune system stay at the top of it’s game.   Blueberries, apples, oranges, strawberries, spinach, and garlic are especially high in vitamins that benefit your immune system.
  • Exercise!  Yet another activity that helps keep your immune system strong and ready to take on the flu.  Yes we know how cold it is outside, but you still need to find a way to get in gear and get active!  Whether you hit the slopes, go ice skating, or head to the gym just do something that gets your heart pumping a little faster than usual.
  • If you do come down with the flu, stay home!  Trying to go into school or the office will only spread the disease to your classmates or coworkers and will not speed up your recovery, if anything it will slow it down!

With cases of the flu on the rise, it is more important than ever to take care of yourself and do what you can to prevent the spread of it!  Sometimes there is just nothing you can do and you may come down with the flu even if you do follow all of our tips.  Remember, children and the elderly are especially at risk for the flu so get your children vaccinated and talk to your parents and/or grandparents about getting their vaccine!

Photo By: NHSE