Ways to Stay Healthy During Flu Season

Once again flu season has arrived, and for many, it leaves us wondering what we can do to protect ourselves against this year’s influenza viruses. We at AccuHealth Urgent Care in St. Louis, Missouri, want you to get through flu season in the best health possible, so we’ve compiled a list of recommendations and precautions to help you stay healthy.

Get the flu vaccine.

Each flu season, different forms of influenza viruses pop up, and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) updates their vaccines accordingly. Since the viruses are always changing, the CDC makes adjustments to the vaccines, so they are highly effective at protecting against the three or four most common and aggressive strains of the virus.

This year’s vaccines are quadrivalent (four-component) vaccines, which protect against three different flu viruses as well as a second line of “B” viruses. Along with the CDC, our board-certified physicians recommend that everyone gets the flu vaccine, but especially those in higher risk groups like very young children, elderly individuals, and those with chronic health conditions. Aside from those with specific allergies, the CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone older than six months, every season.

Wash your hands frequently.

This seems obvious, but washing your hands with soap and water is an excellent preventive measure for spreading germs that cause the flu. When others who are infected with the flu virus sneeze or blow their nose, tiny droplets become airborne and land on things you touch, like doorknobs, chairs, and handrails. Taking extra care to wash your hands or use an antibacterial hand sanitizer can prevent these germs from getting into your mouth and nose.

Avoid sick people.

Since viruses are highly contagious, try not to get too close to others who you know are sick with colds or the flu. When you minimize contact with others who are ill, you decrease your chances of becoming infected. If you are in a room or a public place where people are coughing or sneezing, try to stay at least three feet away from them so you’re in the “safe zone” away from their spray of germs.

Get enough sleep each night.

Never underestimate the health benefits of a good night’s sleep. Flu season is not the time to skimp on shut-eye and run yourself down. When your body doesn’t get an adequate amount of time to rest and rejuvenate, your immune system has to fight harder to ward off germs and viruses. Getting enough sleep can help keep your immune system on alert against a flu attack.

Eat healthily, and get enough vitamin C.

Speaking of your immune system, another way to keep it healthily so it can defend your body against viral intruders is to eat healthily. Foods rich in vitamin C help keep your immune system strong. We also recommend cutting back on foods that are high in sugar, like sodas and candy, because too much sugar in your diet can inhibit your body’s ability to fight off the flu virus.

Get enough exercise.

Exercising goes hand-in-hand with eating healthily to optimize your body’s defenses against flu viruses. The stronger and healthier you are physically, the better your immune system can fight off any type of germs. An added bonus of exercise is that it also helps reduce stress, which, if left unchecked, can seriously compromise your immune system and its ability to ward off germs.

See your doctor if you’re feeling bad.

If you do happen to get a cold or have flu symptoms that don’t improve after three days, or you have a high fever that goes away and returns, seek medical attention immediately. AccuHealth Urgent Care is open 365 days a year, so you can see one of our skilled physicians any day of the week. The flu is considered potentially dangerous because, if you ignore its symptoms, it can lead to other illnesses. It’s much better to be proactive than to wait until the flu has caused other complications that require hospitalization, especially if you’re at high risk of contracting the virus.

You don’t need an appointment at AccuHealth Urgent Care, so come right in whenever you need knowledgeable and convenient medical treatment in a caring environment. Feel free to call or schedule an appointment online when your situation isn’t urgent. We look forward to helping you stay healthy this flu season and all year round.

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