Flu season will look a little different this year as we are also dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. While there is currently not a vaccine available for the coronavirus, getting a flu vaccine is essential to protect your health and the health of those around you. Keeping your immune system strong and getting your flu shot will not only reduce your risk of falling ill, (and therefore weakening your immune system), it will also help our community conserve scarce health resources.
If you are someone who is at high risk for serious illness due to the flu or COVID-19, it is very important that you get a flu vaccine to protect yourself and lower your risk of falling dangerously ill.
In addition to getting your flu shot, here are some ways to reduce the spread of flu:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with viruses that cause flu.
These flu precautions are in addition to the everyday COVID-19 safety precautions as laid out by the CDC including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, washing your hands often and staying home if you are sick.
Here are six recommendations to build up your immune system so you can go into the fall and winter armed and ready to fight off the bugs!
Drink extra water
Most people forget to hydrate as much in the cooler months since it doesn’t feel as hot. But the truth is, you may need even more water with the dry winter air and heaters turned on. Make sure you are drinking at least 8-10 glasses of fresh water daily; and even more if you are exercising!
Vitamin C is one of the most well known vitamins for boosting your immune system and fighting off colds and flu. These days, vitamin C is heralded for its antioxidant status. It destroys harmful free radicals that damage cells and can lead to cancer, heart disease, cataracts, and perhaps even aging. Vitamin C rejuvenates the immune system and aids in the absorption of iron and calcium.
Keep your digestion healthy with probiotics
Probiotics are like the good bugs in your intestines that can also help fight off foreign invaders. Most of your immune system is actually located in the gut, so it makes sense to keep your gut healthy to maintain immunity!
Chicken broth or bone broth soups
It may seem so cliché, but grandma was right when she told you to have chicken soup for a cold. Since chicken broth is derived from bones, it is rich in several important minerals. An 8-ounce serving of chicken broth offers more than 200 milligrams of potassium, which is 10 percent of your requirement for the day. Another highprofile mineral in chicken broth is phosphorous. Phosphorous aids in metabolism, helps build protein and healthy bones and teeth.
Get adequate sleep
You need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to boost your immune system. When you sleep, your body releases cytokines, which boost the body’s immune and inflammation responses.
These are just a handful of ways to set yourself up for success going into cold and flu season. If you take the extra steps everyday, you’ll be sure to make it through healthy and happy!