How to Prepare for the Flu Season

How to Prepare for the Flu Season

Flu season is a regular part of fall and winter, resulting in 9 million to 45 million flu illnesses in the U.S. every year. Since symptoms of these viruses may overlap, this may either cause a delay in treatment or unnecessary worry and anxiety about the illness. In any case, there are a variety of precautions that can be taken to avoid a bout with the flu during this upcoming season. (1)

Preparing for the Flu Season

To reduce health complications and alleviate the burden on hospitals and doctors in treating the flu, precautions should be taken to lower the chances of getting sick. This is especially important because human influenza viruses are contagious and can be easily spread.

The flu generally affects the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. Symptoms include:

  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Chills or feeling feverish (not everyone with the flu gets a fever, but this can happen)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (most common in children)

Children younger than 18 are most likely to get the flu, twice the likelihood of adults over 65. The older group, however, has a higher risk of developing severe complications related to the flu. Taking care to employ measures can reduce the likelihood of contracting this illness. While the CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine each year, there are also everyday habits that can help slow the spread. (2)

Wash Hands Regularly

Handwashing is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce the spread of the flu. Not only will it protect the body, but it will also protect others. Since germs are acquired from people and surfaces, lathering with soap and water is vital to eliminate potential viruses before they have a chance to infect the body.

The most important times to wash our hands include:

  • Before eating food
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • After using the bathroom
  • After coughing, sneezing, or blowing the nose
  • Before and after touching the eyes, nose, or mouth
  • Before and after visiting public places or touching everyday items (such as door handles, shopping carts, tables, or gas pumps.)

To ensure hands are appropriately cleansed, make sure to lather soap vigorously for at least 20 seconds. Clean all parts of the hands, including the backs and under fingernails. A nail brush is extremely handy. Rinse hands well and make sure to air dry them or use a clean towel. If water and soap aren’t readily available, hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can provide some antimicrobial protection. (3)

Avoid Flu Infection By Avoiding Crowds

The easiest way to avoid contracting a virus is to avoid contact with infected people—though this isn’t always possible. If someone is sick, staying home and limiting contact with people will help slow the spread to others. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) recommends staying home at least 24 hours after a fever from the flu is gone, except to get medical care or necessities. (4)

When someone does need to go out, avoiding close contact with people--especially in confined, indoor spaces--can further reduce the chances of getting sick. While viruses are still circulating in the population, it’s recommended to maintain social (physical) distancing from people not residing in the same household. A minimum of 6 feet reduces the chances of an infected person spreading the flu or other virus. When possible, choose drive-thru or curbside pickup options when running errands to minimize contact with others. (5)

Balance the Immune System To Prepare for Flu Season

While the human body is regularly exposed to germs, viruses, and various foreign bodies, the immune system works hard to keep us from becoming ill. It’s important to keep immunity functioning well so it can support us this flu season. While many vitamins, supplements, or protocols aim to “boost” the immune system, it’s most important to balance immune responses vs. boosting. This allows your immune system to best protect the body from invaders without creating an overreaction--which can lead to inflammation and an immune overreaction, called the cytokine storm.

Some key ways to support and balance the immune system include:

  • Maintain a healthy diet that includes plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • Get adequate, quality sleep
  • Don’t smoke and only drink alcohol in moderation
  • Minimize stress through mindfulness and meditative practices
  • Exercising regularly (6)

In addition to these immune-balancing tips, supplements can offer the body additional support. Research has shown, for example, that some medicinal mushrooms long used in traditional Asian medicine support immune function.  

Another thoroughly researched supplement is PectaSol Modified Citrus Pectin, known to support the immune system without causing an overreaction. PectaSol has been shown to activate NK cells for optimal immune function. This can, in turn, enhance the immune system’s ability to keep the body healthy, in addition to PectaSol’s other essential health benefits.*

The Flu 101

It’s important to remember that the flu season and the pandemic will likely overlap during 2020-2021. Employing measures to keep the immune system balanced and germs at bay will lower the chance of becoming infected with the flu. The CDC recommends getting a flu vaccine, washing hands, and avoiding crowds to lower the chances of becoming infected with influenza. (4)

Additionally, caring for the immune system is an important key in maintaining long-term health and vitality. A healthy lifestyle—including consuming fruits, vegetables and getting adequate sleep and exercise—can support the body’s overall health. Adding key supplements that have been proven to balance the immune system can also provide numerous benefits to keep us healthy and strong this flu season and all year long.*

Sources:

  1. Disease Burden of Influenza. (2020, April 17). Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/burden/index.html
  2. Key Facts About Influenza (Flu). (2019, September 13). Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm
  3. When and How to Wash Your Hands. (2020, September 01). Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/handwashing/when-how-handwashing.html
  4. Healthy Habits to Help Prevent Flu. (2020, September 23). Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/actions-prevent-flu.htm
  5. Social Distancing, Quarantine, and Isolation. (n.d.). Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/social-distancing.html
  6. Publishing, H. (2020). How to boost your immune system. Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system
  7. Ramachandran, C., Wilk, B., Hotchkiss, A., Chau, H., Eliaz, I., & Melnick, S. (2011, August 4). Activation of human T-helper/inducer cell, T-cytotoxic cell, B-cell, and natural killer (NK)-cells and induction of natural killer cell activity against K562 chronic myeloid leukemia cells with modified citrus pectin. Retrieved October 01, 2020, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3161912/

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