Winter is almost upon us and with that comes the flu season. Flu season can be very unpredictable and the severity varies from year to year. Many people choose to get a flu shot. In addition to that, here are some other tips to help keep you healthy:
Keep your hands clean. Wash your hands frequently, with plain soap and warm water, to reduce the risk of retaining and passing viruses and bacteria. Keep hand sanitizer nearby, and use it frequently (but if you use it, don't wash your hands right afterward).
Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and cola, or alcoholic beverages can't take the place of water, and actually dehydrate you.
Eat healthy. Maintain a balanced diet, take a multivitamin every day, get your exercise, and get plenty of sleep. Your resistance to illness goes down if you're tired, underfed, stressed, or in poor physical shape.
Don't be afraid of the cold. Contrary to popular belief, being cold doesn't make you sick, and neither does being cold and wet. Instead, people tend to get the flu in cold weather because that's the time of year when they are more likely to congregate inside, which increases the possibility of passing the virus to others.
Be proactive. If, despite all your precautions, you get the flu, treat it with common sense. It's generally agreed that if you let it run its course, you'll recover in about a week. If you start taking care of the situation when you first start feeling the symptoms, you might recover a little faster.
The age-old advice, drink plenty of liquids, rest as much as you can, and don't strain yourself, is just as good today as it ever was. As soon as you start feeling chilled, feverish, or achy, get into bed and spend as much time there as you can until you're feeling better.
Remember to get immediate medical care if symptoms worsen or if you experience difficulty breathing, seizures, dizziness, severe or persistent vomiting, or chest pain or pressure. For more information on the flu, read our Healthwise article on influenza.