Right now we are in the peak of the 2018 flu season. And this year, the flu vaccine is not really that effective in fighting the strains of flu that are prevalent this year. The peak time of flu season is from December through February.
A lot of people think that just because they got their flu shot, they will be protected and they don’t have to do anything else to stay healthy. But that thought could have dire consequences. Just getting a flu vaccination will not protect you from getting the flu. But, there are a few different things you can do to diminish your chance of getting sick this flu season.
SPP238 Fighting The Flu and Staying Healthy
Dale and I went over many of these topics in part 1 of this 2 part podcast in this weeks show. Next week we will cover some more ways to keep yourself healthy. In a SHTF scenario, the last thing you want to have to deal with is sickness, because your plate will probably already be full.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Yes, washing your hands, frequently, is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself. Even though the flu virus is airborne, the virus does end up on peoples hands. This means door knobs, light switches, elevator buttons, shopping carts, and basically everything else that people can touch could potential have flu virus on them.
When you wash your hands, be sure to do it correctly. You need to apply soap, and rub your hands vigorously for at least 20 seconds. I prefer at least 30 seconds, but whatever works for you as long scrub for at least 20 seconds. A good way to time yourself is to sing Happy Birthday, or Twinkle Twinkle Little Star while you are washing your hands. Maybe sing it in your head as opposed to out loud, unless you aren’t afraid of getting a few odd looks.
Avoid Close Contact With Crowds
If you find yourself in crowded public places, you may increase your risk of getting the flu. Close quarters means it is easier for the flu to travel. So if you can, avoid crowds. Or in Dale’s case, avoid people all together!
Unfortunately one of the worst places to be during flu season is the emergency department of a hospital, or urgent care centers. So unless you really need medical attention, I would steer clear of these places. Now if you are having a life threatening emergency then of course, go to the hospital. But if you don’t have a fever, difficulty breathing, chest pain, profuse bleeding, etc. Instead of going to the ER, make an appointment with your primary care physician.
Keep Yourself Healthy
This is another big thing you can do to help prevent yourself from getting the flu. Stay healthy! Make sure you get enough sleep, and eat a well balanced and healthy diet. Also be sure to drink plenty of fluids, and if you are healthy enough, get a moderate amount of exercise every day. Moderate exercise means getting your heart rate up. So something like a brisk walk for 15 or 20 minutes.
Research shows moderate exercise can help boost your immune system. By increasing your heart rate, you are increasing the circulation of blood throughout your body. Your blood contains white blood cells, and white blood cells are what fight off intruders into your body. So with exercises, your blood is zipping through your body allowing those little white blood cells to find trespassers and destroy them.
How To Prevent Flu Through Your Diet
Increase the amount of protein you consume at every meal. Diets that are low in protein can effect your immune system. So be sure to include protein rich foods in your diet every day. Some examples of protein rich food are:
- Beef jerky 30 to 40 g
- Turkey breast 26g per 3 oz.
- Pork loin or beef 28 g per 3 oz.
- Halibut 22 g per 3 oz.
- Protein powders 15 to 20 g per serving
- Tuna 25 g per serving
- Cottage cheese 10 g per serving
- Beans 10 g per serving
- Greek yogurt 10 g per serving
- Eggs 6 g each
These are just a few examples of protein rich food that you can include in your meal planning every day of the week.
Many of us are dehydrated without even knowing it. And being dehydrated is never good. So be sure you are getting enough to drink every single day. My favorite thing to do is add a little drink enhancer to my water. I have a 24 oz water bottle, and I will typically drink 5 or 6 full bottles every single day. By staying hydrated you help move everything through your body, and you are able to eliminate waste easily. So drink up!
Also consider drinking hot tea. The steam in the tea is helpful to stimulate the little hairs in your nose, cilia. Those little hairs help to protect the inside of your body from the outside world. If those little hairs are moving, they can help to remove the germs that will be trying to get inside of you. And when you are drinking tea, consider adding honey. Honey is antibacterial, and tastes great in tea! Lemon is another great addition to a cup of tea. Lemon helps to thin secretions, meaning mucous. And thinning mucous while you are sick is much better than thick, sticky mucous!
The Wrap Up
So to keep your resistance up, and flu bugs at bay there are a lot of things you can do in addition to getting a flu vaccine.
- Wash your hands
- Avoiding crowds
- Stay healthy
- Eat better (more protein)
- Increase fluids
- Get some exercise
If you put these tips into practice, you will be doing more than most to stay healthy this nasty flu season. When we come back next, I will have some tips that you can use to help keep your home flu free. So be sure to come back for the second part of our podcast, as well this article. I promise if you are diligent with your preparedness to getting healthy, you will greatly decrease your risk of getting the flu.
Disclaimer: The information in this article is meant to be helpful, but not to be taken as medical advice. If you are planning on changing your diet, or beginning an exercise program, please contact your health care professional. And if you are in need of medical attention, please do so!