There’s still time. Just because we’re already in the middle of flu season does not mean it’s too late to take preventive measures. While getting your annual flu shot is one of the most effective ways to keep influenza at bay, there are many other ways you can minimize the risk of infection, according to Samantha Pozner, MD, who practices at Summit-Springfield Family Medicine:
1. WASH YOUR HANDS REGULARLY. Your hands can be a breeding ground for the flu virus, so cleaning them thoroughly is of the utmost importance. This is especially true before touching your mouth and nose. Also, be sure to wipe down common areas and surfaces in your home and office.
2. GET ENOUGH REST. If you tend to go to bed late, try hitting the sack a little earlier. Make sure to get any sleep-related health issues like sleep apnea treated as well. Sufficient rest is necessary for your body to function at its best and fend off infection.
3. EAT A HEALTHY DIET. Vitamins and other nutrients are essential for a healthy immune system. If your diet is full of junk food, replace them with healthier fare like fruits and vegetables. Not only will you help boost your immunity, but you’ll also feel better.
4. AVOID CLOSE CONTACT WHENEVER POSSIBLE. If someone at home or at work is sick, try to keep close contact to a minimum. That way, you’ll lower your risk of getting an infection. Conversely, stay away from others when you are sick.
5. DO NOT RUSH TO GET ANTIBIOTICS. Antibiotics are meant to treat bacterial infection – not viruses like the flu or the common cold. Taking antibiotics for a virus will do nothing except increase your risk of antibiotic resistance. Talk to your doctor to see whether your symptoms are due to the flu or something else.