Avoid the Flu: Tips for Staying Healthy


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It seems like every time I turn on the news lately, someone is reporting on the particularly aggressive flu season in our midst. If you’re like me, you probably can’t afford to get sick as a dog and miss days of work. Here are some tips for staying flu-free:

Sanitize your environment. Whether you are on a plane or at your desk, be sure to clean off anything you will be touching with antibacterial wipes. Remember: your technological devices are breeding grounds for bacteria.

Sanitize your hands. Because it is difficult to avoid physical contact and touching germy surfaces at all times, be sure that you always have hand sanitizer at the ready.

Keep your distance. When working in an office environment, spending time with friends, or walking down the street, you are at risk of getting sick from someone around you. For this reason, keep hand shaking and drink sharing to a minimum.

Treat your body well. When you are sleep deprived, worn out, or generally unhealthy, you are at greater risk of catching something. Be sure that during this flu season you get exercise, eat well, and plenty of sleep to ward off illness.

Hope you all stay well in this sickly season!

Misconceptions of the Flu Shot

The leaves are starting to change colors and the air feels a bit cooler. Winter is almost upon us, and whether we like it or not, we will soon be pulling out our parkas, scraping our windshields and regretting that we ever prayed for cooler weather.

This cold weather, though, also means that we better prepare our immune systems for yet another flu season. The flu shot, although sometimes not as effective as it should be, comes with some misconceptions: Can’t the flu vaccine actually give me the flu? If I haven’t received the flu this season, shouldn’t I wait to get vaccinated to strengthen my immunity? The following addresses some of these common questions to set straight what is fact from fiction:

  • Fact: While flu vaccines can be made with a flu virus, this virus is “inactivated” meaning that it is not infectious.  This can sometimes cause misconceptions of believing that the flu shot actually causes a person to have the flu. 
  • Fiction:  If I haven’t received the flu shot this season and still have not become infected, I should hold off on getting the flu shot to strengthen my immunity. Flu activity typically peaks between December and February and can sometimes last until May. Even if you haven’t contracted the flu yet, the CDC still advises getting the vaccine. It’s recommended to get the flu shot in October, but receiving the vaccine in January or February can still protect against infection if the virus is still lurking around.
  • Fact: Those who are six months and older should be vaccinated every year. According to the CDC, a person’s immunity from the flu tends to decline over time. It is recommended that vaccinations should occur every year for optimal protection.

Still not sure if you should get vaccinated? Visit the CDC’s website for more answers to your flu vaccine questions.

– Penny Kokkinides

What to do when you have the flu?

If you’ve ever had the flu, you can attest that it’s a miserable experience. Your muscles and joints ache; you have pain and tiredness around your eyes; you have a sense of weakness or extreme fatigue; and any assortment of a headache, fever, dry cough, sore throat and a runny nose. It makes it sound like a common cold, but it’s much worse.

 It’s a good thing February has passed because that is the most common month to get the flu. However, that doesn’t mean we are in the clear just yet! The lingering sufferers are still able to pass germs to the healthy!

 If you’ve been unfortunate enough to turn into a virus incubator, don’t fret! There are a few things you can do to help promote viral eviction:

·         Get plenty of rest.

o This might be obvious, but the flu makes you extremely tired. Don’t fight your body. I know you have to work, but you won’t be able to get work done if you can’t pay attention.

·         Increase your fluid intake.

o   Another obvious solution, but you will need all the fluids you can get. Water, sports drinks, soup, etc.

·         Sweat.

o   Sweat as much as you can. You can use a sauna or a steam room. Sweat in whatever way you can, but don’t exercise. Exercise will only hurt you while you’re trying to heal.

·         If possible, within 24 hours, get an antiviral from your doctor.

o   This can help you feel better sooner and minimize symptoms. Continue to take it easy, though. You might feel better, but your body is still in battle.

·         Dip into some Oil of Oregano.

o   Oregano contains chemicals that might help reduce cough and spasms. Oregano also might help digestion by increasing bile flow and fighting against some bacteria, viruses, fungi, intestinal worms and other parasites.

o   One drop in 8 oz. of water every few hours might help.