The Flu and You

(Photo by Grace Lee)

The Flu and You

By Samantha Dammann

Flu season is awful. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the germs peak between December and March. The symptoms of the flu are horrendous to deal with, and having a sick roommate or family member isn’t much more pleasant than being sick yourself. Since it isn’t possible to completely isolate yourself from the world for four months, catching the flu might seem inevitable- but it’s not! The CDC highly recommends receiving an annual flu shot, but if vaccines aren’t your thing, there are still plenty of ways to stay healthy. Prevention.com and the CDC list several popular, non-vaccination related ways that people can avoid contracting the flu.

Keep the Germs Away

Some of the most common precautions that you can take are all about keeping as many germs away from your body as possible. “Wash your hands” is a command most people have grown up hearing. If you didn’t listen to your mother when you were little, you should definitely start listening now! Make sure to wash your hands before meals and after using the restroom. Be wary of other ways germs could enter your body as well. Bad habits like nail biting and pencil-chewing place you at high risk for flu contraction.

Take Care of Your Body

Getting enough sleep and eating healthy are also key during flu season because these habits help keep your immune system strong. The CDC recommends that adults get eight hours of sleep a night and that teens get ten hours. Eating well is also extremely important. When I was little, my swim coach told me to eat colorful. If you look down at your dinner plate and it is overwhelmingly brown, you’re doing something wrong. Eat a variety of fruits and vegetables to help keep your body working properly. Also, if you find yourself having a difficult time getting enough vitamin C, try mixing an Emergen-C packet into your water every few days. These dietary supplements are available in a variety of flavors, and I swear by them.

Be Creative

There is a whole world of flu prevention methods that most people have never heard of. One of the most popular unconventional methods is elderberry syrup! Elderberry syrup is made from elderberries, cinnamon, cloves, honey, and ginger. The University of Maryland Medical Center’s study on elderberries offers lots of helpful information about the berry. Elderberry syrup can be purchased at health stores like CVS, but can also be made from scratch.

Acknowledge Your Symptoms

Even with a strict regiment of flu-preventative measures, you could still end up contracting the flu. In this case, it’s extremely important to acknowledge the fact that you’re sick. It’s fine to push through some illnesses, but the flu is not one of them! If you contract the flu, do your coworkers a favor and stay home. Make sure to get plenty of rest, drink lots of fluids, and if necessary, go see a doctor.

The flu is a serious bug, but there are so many available resources that can help you stay healthy and recover quickly.

Cited:

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/preventing.htm

http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/7-ways-not-to-get-the-flu

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/elderberry

http://holisticsquid.com/elderberry-syrup-recipe/