Influenza or flu is an infection of the nose, throat, and lungs. While influenza viruses spread year-round, in the United States flu season usually occurs in the fall and winter. The flu tends to come suddenly and may seem like a common cold at first with a runny nose, sneezing, headaches, and sore throat. However, flu symptoms tend to be worse than the cold. Knowing how to fight the flu is important because although most people with the flu get better on their own, sometimes influenza and its complications can be deadly.
Why Should You Take The Flu Shot?
The best way to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated. Each year’s seasonal flu vaccine contains protection from influenza viruses that are expected to be common during that year’s flu season. Once you get the flu shot, the body takes about 14 days to build immunity after a flu vaccine. Flu shots are available at your local pharmacy, primary doctor’s office, and Advanced Internal Medical Group.
Protect Yourself From Surrounding Germs
Washing your hands constantly is another crucial way you can protect yourself against influenza. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, after coughing or sneezing, and before eating, serving, or preparing food are particularly important. The great thing about hand washing is its easy protection. So get in the habit of washing your hands when you come home from public places or anywhere else where you’re around a lot of people.
Flu viruses travel through the air, so try to stay away from people who look ill. Of course, people who have the flu virus don’t always look sick. That’s where vaccines and hand washing come in. It’s also a good idea to avoid touching your nose, eyes, and mouth, as this is where the flu virus can easily enter the body. If you have to sneeze or cough do so into a tissue or your elbow but never into your hands to avoid spreading germs. And remember, if you catch the flu always stay home and rest!
How Can You Make Your Immune System Stronger?
Keeping a strong immune system can also help you fight the flu on a daily basis. People with a weakened immune system have a higher risk of experiencing constant infections and severe systems. Besides taking the flu shot, some great immune boosters are:
- Getting enough sleep: Sleep and immune health are connected because sleep regulates your immune system.
- Eating healthy foods: A healthy diet provides essential nutrients to help strengthen a person’s immune response to fight off pathogens.
- Drinking plenty of fluids: Our immune system relies heavily on nutrients in our blood, which is mostly water! Water is an important part of lymphatic fluid, which helps fight infection.
- Getting regular exercise: Physical activity prompts the immune system to move white blood cells to more places where it can recognize viruses and bacteria.
- Do not smoke or drink excessively: Drinking excessively and smoking reduce the number of white cells in your body that fight infections.
- Protect your mental health: Stress can also affect the number of white cells you have in your body.
When Should I See A Doctor?
Most people who get the flu can treat themselves at home and often do not need to see a health care provider. However, if you have any chest pains, difficulty breathing, or severe weakness or discomfort seek medical assistance immediately. At AIM Group in East Hills, NY we have 35 years of experience enhancing our patients’ lives with primary care, house call appointments, and other services related to the flu. To learn more about any of our services call (516) 352-8100 to speak with one of our team members.