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Eight Tips for Keeping Yourself and Your Family Healthy During Flu Season

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A lot of people are getting the flu this year. Moreover, since it’s a particularly strong strain of flu virus, it’s making people sicker than in previous years. There’s currently widespread flu activity across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s particularly dangerous for babies and young children, who are very vulnerable to the virus. However, it’s also a threat to seniors, pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system, like those living with a chronic condition.

Flu Symptoms

So how can you tell whether you or a family member is getting sick with the flu? Flu symptoms get worse as the illness progresses. It usually starts with excessive feelings of fatigue, as well as a sore throat, cough and muscle ache. You might also develop a fever. This indicates your body is fighting an infection. Some strains of the flu also cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If these symptoms persist, they can cause dehydration, which can be very dangerous.

How to Protect Yourself and Your Family from the Flu

1. Get the flu vaccine. While the flu vaccine doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get the flu, it can help reduce the severity of the symptoms if you do get it. In addition, it will help you recover much faster. Check with your physician to find out the best place to get it.

2. Eat a healthy diet. Eating a healthy diet is always important, but it’s even more so when you’re trying to protect yourself from the flu virus. Eat regular meals, and make sure they contain the right balance of protein, carbs and vegetables. It’s also advisable to eat one or two portions of fruit a day.

3. Take multivitamins. Vitamins can help protect against viruses and infections. Taking a multivitamin a day could give your immune system a boost to help you stay healthy.

4. Avoid people who have the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that adults who have the flu are contagious from one day before symptoms develop to as long as a week after getting sick. Children can pass the virus on for longer. If you know someone has or is recovering from the flu, stay away.

5. Be vigilant about hygiene. Proper hygiene is very important to combating viruses, so wash or sanitize your hands frequently. This is especially important for people who come into contact with a lot of people such as store clerks, flight attendants and those in similar public-oriented professions.

6. Minimize stress. Stress makes you more vulnerable to viruses and infections. Do what you can to minimize stress and build relaxation time into your schedule.

7. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise boosts the immune system. Aim for 30 minutes of light to moderate exercise a day, five days a week.

8. Get sufficient sleep. Never underestimate the power of sleep in boosting your immune system. Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep each night.

If you keep these tips in mind, you can minimize the chances of you and your loved ones getting the flu. But if you do get sick, call your doctor right away.

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