Now that we’re in the midst of flu season, everyone should be taking the necessary precautions to avoid coming into contact with the influenza virus. Apart from quarantining yourself in a sealed room, it’s nearly impossible to stay away from bacteria and viruses altogether, so the best approach is to strengthen your immune system in as many ways as possible. Studying for a public health degree online teaches you a lot about flu prevention measures, most notably the following:
1. Get Vaccinated
Studies have repeatedly proven that the flu vaccine reduces the risk of being sickened by influenza. It also lessens the severity of the illness in the event that you do get sick. This is especially important for older people and children who might be susceptible to dangerous complications like pneumonia. Anyone with an MPH degree will tell you that getting vaccinated is perhaps the easiest and fastest way to develop a strong immunity to influenza and reduce your chances of getting sick or dealing with severe symptoms.
2. Dress Appropriately in Cold Weather
The flu virus thrives in colder weather, and to make matters worse, prolonged exposure to cold temperatures is known to suppress the immune system. Thus, it’s important to limit travel in cold weather, but when you do have to go out make sure you’re dressed in plenty of layers. It’s especially important to keep your head, ears, hands, and feet covered and warm to uphold your body temperature.
3. Eat a Balanced Diet
If your diet is lacking certain vitamins and minerals your immune system might not be able to fight off the flu virus when encountering it. Make sure you get your daily recommended value of vitamin C to boost immune function, as well as adequate lean protein for the production of antibodies. Foods that are useful for fighting the flu include:
- Garlic has antiviral effects
- Carrots rich in beta-carotene/vitamin A
- Leafy Greens high in vitamin C and antioxidants
- Chicken Soup raises body temperature and is high in protein
- Beef quality proteins and high amounts of zinc
- Citrus Fruits more vitamin C
Of course, there are plenty of other healthy foods, but the above short list alone can help you get through flu season without getting sick at all. If your immune system is functioning optimally and you come into contact with the virus, you’ll have a better chance of producing the necessary antibodies to keep it from causing symptoms.
4. Wash Hands before Eating and Avoid Crowded Areas
As you know, the flu typically enters your body via the mouth or eyes. For this reason, it’s a good idea to wear mittens or gloves as often as possible during flu season, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before eating a meal or touching your face. The flu virus can also be inhaled, so it would be wise to avoid overly crowded areas or events where carriers could sneeze or cough the active virus into the air.
Symptoms to Watch For
Finally, if you do get the flu it’s important to immediately get adequate rest and avoid going out into public. There’s no need to go the hospital at the first sign of fever, runny nose, headache, sore throat, or coughing, but if symptoms like vomiting, diarrhea, breathing trouble, or persistent high fever arise, it may be necessary to go to the local ER.