We’ve all been flooded by the media and our friends about the swine flu running rampant and spreading like mad all over the world. Truth is, swine flu is just one strand of a multitude of flues that are always active around the globe. The “regular” flu itself is responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people every year. So why the panic now? Any strand of flu can be bad news, so the immediate action that we should all take is prevention. With all this talk about whether the swine flu vaccine is safe or not, there are a variety of things that you can do to minimize your chances of getting the flu without having to resort to a vaccine. Let’s go over them:
Wash your hands frequently
You should wash your hands more than ever especially during flu season. The virus spreads very fast via our hands, as we touch door knobs and furniture and then we touch our face. Make sure you take the habit of washing your hands multiple times throughout the day, especially after going into public places.
Avoid touching your face
As mentioned above, we spread the virus easily by touching a door knob for example and then touching our face. Most of the time, we don’t even realize that we are touching our face. It’s like a reflex. Become aware of where your hands are, especially when at the computer or watching tv. Force yourself to keep your hands away from your face and soon enough, you will instill a newer and better habit.
Clean your work areas
Did you know that most keyboards have more bacterias than a toilet? Make sure that you clean and disinfect your keyboard, phone, cell phone, ipod, computer, mouse, remote control, desk, etc. This should be a common ritual that you do multiple times a day, especially if you work in an office with other people or if you share these items with others.
Drink lots of water
By keeping your body properly hydrated, you are adding one of the most powerful weapons to your arsenal to help fight off getting the flu. Your immune system will function more effectively when adequately hydrated and thus fare better when fighting viruses and bacterias. Do yourself a favor and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
From simple exercises such as walking, or yoga, all the way to more strenuous routines, there is no doubt that exercise can boost your immune system and help improve respiratory and cardiac functions within your body. Also, it is a great stress reliever, which brings me to my next point.
Stress is by far the bigger cause of illnesses. Stress suppresses your immune system, and it exponentially goes up the longer and stronger the stress is there. So you must do yourself a favor and start right now to get rid of stress in your life. Take a walk, do some meditation, take a warm bath, do deep breathing exercises, and so on.
Improve your diet
Take a long hard look at your diet and be honest with yourself. Is it as healthy as it could be? If not, then you are putting yourself at risk of getting the flu. Avoid processed foods and stick to fresh, nutrient-rich, natural, and colorful foods. Choose organic fruits and vegetables for example to avoid toxins.
Get proper sleep
One easy way to make yourself completely prone to getting the flu is to lack adequate sleep, or sleep at inappropriate hours. Make sure you get enough rest and that it happens between 9pm and 7am. Being awake at night and sleeping your 8 hours during the day is just as bad as not sleeping all night. You need your sleep at night, without interruptions, or noise.
Fiber-rich foods will ensure that you properly release toxins from your bowel and kidneys. By having proper elimination under control, you are making your body a much more efficient system to protect itself from foreign bacterias.
There are a variety of supplements that can help boost your immune system. Such items as flax seed oil, vitamin B, folic acid, omega 3 fish oil, probiotics, and especially vitamin D. Keep in mind that you can naturally increase your vitamin D by simply exposing yourself more to natural sunlight (will not work through glass windows, needs to be directly outside in the sun).
The flu easily spreads in crowds, where one person that sneezes can infect 10-20 others around, and so on. If you don’t have to, don’t go in crowds during flu season. If you must, where a scarf or mask, or make sure that you cover your face when coughing or sneezing with a tissue. Then make sure the tissue is properly disposed and wash your hands. Ideally, the less you are in crowds, the lesser the chances that you will get the flu.
Avoid public restrooms
Again, due to the sheer number of people visiting these facilities, it can be a prime location for the spreading of the flu. Simply opening the door knob of the restroom can give you a virus, as a large number of people do not wash their hands properly in the restroom. Try to avoid these restrooms as much as possible.
Don’t share personal items like food and drinks
The mere sharing of a bottle of water or a candy bar can spread a virus like the flu easily. Especially during flu season, keep this to a strict minimum, if not, avoid it entirely.
Keep sanitizers and disinfectant with you
This is very important for people on the go & that travel, but everyone should use some form of hand sanitizer at all times. We are not always near a washroom to wash our hands, so this is the next best thing. I’ve noticed here in downtown Montreal, most buildings now keep hand sanitizing lotion distributors near elevators. So you can quickly disinfect your hands before going in. It’s smart, as lots of bacterias are spread in the elevator simply via the floor buttons!
It will be up to you to decide if you want to get the vaccine for the swine flu or any other type of flu. There are arguments for and against it. However, be aware that by following the advice above, you will dramatically reduce the chances of getting the flu, and that is without having to get the vaccination.