As the global pandemic continues, our personal health is still at the top of everyone’s mind. Even though the news is still so rightfully focused on COVID coverage, there is another health concern to be aware of this time of year; flu season.
Flu season isn’t taking the year off just because of COVID. If anything it means we should be even more vigilant about our health when it comes to the flu. Here are a few simple but effective lifestyle changes you can make in preparation of flu season.
Try to Stay Active
- As the weather turns colder it can be more difficult and/or less enjoyable to be outside, but studies show that regular exercise can drastically reduce your chance of catching a cold or the flu.
- Getting the blood flowing helps flush out bacteria in your lungs and bloodstream.
- If you’re able to get outside for a walk once or twice a day, make sure to do so. It can really make a difference! Even when the cold weather creeps in, bundle up and go. Your immune system will thank you.
Get More Sleep
- I’m sure you’ve noticed that you generally feel better when you’re getting the appropriate amount of sleep.
- Sleep allows the body to reduce both stress and inflammation, leading to improved blood flow and a lesser risk of infection.
- If you’re not sure how much sleep you should be getting, try this simple sleep assessment from WebMD
Balance Your Diet
- A balanced diet is something that is beneficial to just about every aspect of your health, and that includes strengthening your immune system.
- Eating too much sugar actually “affects the way your white blood cells attack bacteria,”, slowing them down and allowing viruses to spread quicker.
- During flu season, make sure you’re eating plenty of fruits and vegetables with high levels of vitamin C; oranges, bell peppers, kiwi, strawberries, and broccoli are all great examples.
Get a Flu Shot
- According to the CDC, “the single, best way to prevent seasonal flu” is to get a flu shot every year.
- A flu shot coupled with the above practices makes your chances of staying healthy even better.
- Some people believe that a flu shot will cause you to get the flu, but that is not the case. Although it does take up to 2 weeks for your body to develop antibodies from the vaccine, so make sure to stay vigilant during that time.
- Depending on your health plan, most insurance companies cover the flu vaccine, and even companies like Health Net, are going out into their community and offering the flu shot for free to help reduce the risk of an outbreak. Check out Health Net’s Twitter to learn more.
One can only hope that living with a COVID mindset for so long will now help us get through the flu season with ease. Of course, if you have any reason to believe you’re coming down with the flu, be sure to call your doctor immediately. Keep wearing your mask because it’s better safe than sorry!
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