As winter approaches, colds and flu become more widespread. To stay healthy, you need to be aware of what stops the spread of these illnesses.
Do you know what you need to do to stay well? Paying attention to the following areas can help keep you and your family healthy during flu season.
Immune System Support
The human immune system defends the body against invaders like the flu virus. You can keep its protection strong by taking care of several key health habits.
A balanced diet is essential to the well-being of all cells in our bodies. Researchers have found that vitamins C and D, iron, selenium, zinc, and protein are critical for healthy immune function. Eating a variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, can supply the necessary micronutrients.
As explained above, the immune system depends on the nutrients from the food we consume. These substances reach vital organs through the bloodstream, which is mostly water. Thus, adequate hydration enables cells to get what they need to stay healthy.
Lymph drainage is critical for the removal of foreign substances, including viruses. This system also drains waste products from the body to detoxify it. When you drink enough liquid, vital systems can work efficiently.
Vitamin D is key to healthy immune function, and sunlight plays a role in producing it. When ultraviolet light hits the skin, the body produces this nutrient. Thus, it’s wise to take advantage of every opportunity to enjoy time in the sun during the colder months.
Spending just a few minutes per day outdoors can make a significant difference. If you live somewhere with little to no sunshine in the winter, you may want to consider taking vitamin D supplements.
Adults need seven to eight hours of rest per night. Consistently getting less than this amount can lead to illness.
Sleep deprivation also increases stress, further weakening the immune system. Getting enough rest can solve both problems.
Personal Hygiene Considerations
Washing your hands frequently is a proven strategy for avoiding the flu. When you keep them clean, you prevent the passage of germs to and from other people.
Thorough hand washing is essential. Experts recommend scrubbing with soap and warm water for 30 seconds. Be sure to clean the palms, the backs of your hands, and between the fingers.
Hand sanitizers also provide an excellent way to kill germs when there’s no soap and water available.
It’s best to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth when possible. If you must do so, make sure your hands are clean first. If they’re contaminated, you’ll end up allowing germs to enter your body.
During flu season, it can be necessary to pay more attention to cleanliness. Doing so can save you and your family from illness.
Surfaces like light switches, doorknobs, remote controls, and drawer handles get frequent use in any home. Experts suggest wiping them down at least weekly to ensure you eliminate any bacteria or viruses that accumulate there.
Studies show the flu virus typically lives for about 12 hours on smooth surfaces. However, absorbent materials like clothing and sponges can retain germs for a few days.
To help fight the flu virus during this winter, wash clothing and other personal items more frequently than usual.
Personal Protection Measures
There are a few other habits that can decrease the spread of flu germs. Stay home if possible, and maintain distance from others if you do go out.
Use a mask that covers your mouth and nose if you must leave home. Avoid sharing objects, including cups, plates, and silverware.
As soon as the flu vaccine becomes available, hurry to get it. It’s necessary to get a shot each year because the virus changes over time.
Check with your healthcare provider about any other vaccines you need to take to keep your protection updated.
If Someone Gets Sick
If someone in your household does get sick, you can take some specific measures to help protect others. The person with the flu should use disposable paper tissues rather than handkerchiefs.
Keep lots of cleaning products at home. Those containing chlorine, antiseptics, peroxide, and alcohol are some of the best for killing viruses. Use gloves to keep germs as far from you as possible when you clean.
The person who’s ill should throw all dirty tissues straight in the garbage. Keep them as isolated from other family members as possible.
Here are some additional cleaning tips for when someone in the house has the flu:
- Wash the sick person’s bedding, towels, and stuffed animals separately from the rest of the laundry.
- Spray toys with hydrogen peroxide. Let the solution sit for ten minutes, then rinse it off with warm water.
- Change toothbrushes after the person gets better. In this way, you can avoid contamination from touching or using one that’s full of germs.
In a Nutshell
When flu season begins, there are several ways you can protect your family. Supporting your immune system through nutrition, hydration, sunshine, and sleep is essential. Wash hands frequently, and use sanitizer when there’s no soap and water.
Clean your house thoroughly, especially the high-touch areas. Stay away from big crowds, and try using a mask if you have to be in public. Get a flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year.
If someone does become ill, sanitize well to avoid the whole household getting sick. Putting all these suggestions into practice can help you stay healthy during flu season.