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Influenza virus, commonly known as the flu, is a disease that may be mild or deadly. It is highly contagious and when you catch the flu you may need to miss work or school for a few weeks. In other people, the consequences are direr! Asthma, diabetes and congestive heart disease are some of the underlying conditions worsened by this illness. Even in a healthy person, Influenza can lead to pneumonia, respiratory distress and even death. The only way to prevent these issues associated with the flu is to prevent it. Here are some ways to ensure you do not catch the virus.
The flu vaccine contains a weakened form of the disease-causing virus. When injected into the body, it triggers the release of disease-fighting antibodies. These antibodies will serve to protect the body from future attacks by the virus. You will not suffer from a severe illness in case you do come into contact with the flu.
The ideal time to get vaccinated is at the beginning of the ‘flu season.’ In the US, this season is usually between October and February. You only need to visit your doctor and he or she will give a shot on the upper arm. There are other flu vaccine variations including nasal sprays and the needle-less jet injector. So, there is no excuse for not getting vaccinated. Talk to your healthcare provider about the options you have and get vaccinated.
The spread of flu is mainly through droplets produced by contagious people as they sneeze, cough or talk. Touching these droplets and then touching your mouth and/or nose will cause you to get the illness.
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water. Hand sanitizers may be used in cases where there is no water available. Both actions will get rid of disease-causing viruses that may be stuck on your hands.
It has been proven that the flu virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 48 hours. Surfaces need to be cleaned and disinfected regularly. This applies for homes, schools and all public spaces. Use detergents that contain antimicrobial agents so as to kill the virus on surfaces.
Keep Distance from Infected Persons
If a colleague, family member or friend is coming down with the flu, keep your distance. You should not be hugging, shaking hands or kissing people with the flu because you will definitely get it. This is not to say that you should totally isolate infected family members. Give them the support they need and serve with nutritious meals. However, do not let them walk all over the house and disinfect the areas they occupy thoroughly.
People infected with the flu should cough and sneeze onto tissues and stay at home so as to avoid spreading the virus.
Adopt Healthy Habits
A good immune system will be able to fight off any disease. You can boost yours by:
• Exercising frequently
• Having enough sleep
• Eating a balanced diet
• Keeping stress levels in check
Combine the above methods and the flu season may pass by without you suffering from the illness. If you do get sick, take good care of yourself and try to prevent the spread by staying away from others. Take your medication as prescribed and stay healthy.