PREPARING FOR FLU SEASON

Autumn is here, and hopefully you are out enjoying yourself in the crisp air and taking part in all of the seasonal festivities. In order to keep having fun all fall and winter long, it is important to remember that this wonderful autumn air also means that flu season is just around the corner. Taking certain simple precautions to protect yourself and your family can make all of the difference in keeping yourself well this year. Here are some important steps that you can take to prepare for flu season and stay healthy.

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Eat and Drink for Health
One of the simplest steps we can take to ward off the flu is a practice everyone should ideally adhere to all year round: choose a healthy diet that will help your body to maintain a strong immune system. This does not really require any special or complicated diet. The basics are to stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids and to eat a diet that is healthy and balanced. Food choices that may be particularly beneficial will include lots of fruits and vegetables that are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants carry many benefits, and are becoming more and more known to the public. One of these wonderful benefits is they can work as immune boosters, helping you and your family to have a healthier life overall.

Avoid Germs
There are many steps you can take to limit your contact with germs. Some of these may be more obvious than others, but if you begin a mindful routine of keeping yourself and the objects you come into contact with sanitized now, you will likely have formed good habits by the time flu season is in full swing. Proper hand washing is a hugely important practice. Many people know that they should wash their hands, but are not necessarily washing properly. To really benefit you should wash in warm, soapy water for between 30 to 60 seconds. It may help you to keep track of the time if you get into the habit of singing a song like the ABC’s as you wash, and this will definitely help young children with washing their hands. In public places, try to wipe off surfaces like doorknobs with sanitizing wipes, if possible, as the flu virus can live up to 48 hours on hard surfaces. A good alternative is to use a hand sanitizer after touching these surfaces, but remember not to eat or touch food immediately afterwards. Wait a few minutes first so the sanitizer has time to kill the flu germs.

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Get a Flu Shot
Though you should definitely follow every step to keep yourself healthy, the method of protection that is by far the most effective is getting a flu vaccination. The flu shot is recommended for almost anyone over six months of age, with a few exceptions, including people with severe allergies to chicken eggs or a history of Guillain-Barre Syndrome. If you do decide to get a seasonal flu shot, be sure to get it as early in the season as you possibly can, because its effectiveness only really kicks in by developing the right antibodies in your body about two weeks after the shot is administered.

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