It’s flu season, and that means your chances of getting sick are high. This year is particularly nasty, with the Center for Disease Control having declared a flu epidemic in the United States. In fact, this flu season is on track to be the worst, and, unfortunately, deadliest in nearly a decade. It’s becoming more and more important this year to keep you and your family safe from the flu. Here are five tips from Dr. Jones, an Osteopathic family physician, for staying healthy this season.
1. Wash Your Hands
Germs are spread in two main ways—through the air, and by touch. Your hands are the culprit of many of the infectious organisms that enter your body. The best way to keep these germs out of your body is to keep a constant routine for hand washing. Wash before eating. Wash periodically throughout the day, especially when in an office setting. Wash after using the restroom—and even use your paper towel to help open the door so you don’t have to touch the door handle (because you know other people aren’t washing their hands).
2. Wash Your Nose With Xlear
Washing your nose regularly is just as important (if not more) as washing your hands. Since germs spread through the air just as much as they do by touch, you can get sick even if you have a religious hand-washing routine. Washing the nose with a xylitol nasal spray like Xlear’s will make sure things are cleansed of contaminants related to the flu, and will encourage a speedy recovery if you’re already sick.
3. Stay Hydrated
Water performs so many functions in the body—it transports nutrients, regulates body temperature, , and keeps your natural defenses working properly. If you don’t keep yourself hydrated, your body will become susceptible to sluggishness and dizziness, and your body’s defenses will be impaired. In this weakened state, the body has a much harder time fighting off harmful contaminants that enter the body.
4. Get Plenty of Rest
A lack of sleep blunts your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illness. Sleep is the body’s mechanism to repair itself and rejuvenate. Make sure to get a consistent good night’s rest—it’ll do more than help you stave off the flu, but help you stay healthy throughout your entire life.
5. Keep Your Environment Tidy and Clean
Your environment is more than the air you breathe and the landscape around your home. It’s everything you surround yourself with. If you make an effort to keep your home clean and tidy every day, your clean environment will help strengthen your mental, emotional, and physical health. Germs have a hard time spreading when we clean after ourselves. Things you use every day, such as blankets and sheets, should be washed regularly. When you’re out and about, it’s best to avoid large crowds when its flu season. And before you grab a shopping cart at the marketplace, be sure to wipe down the handle.