5 Ways to Prepare for Flu Season

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When flu season arrives, it’s time to take action.

Anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 Americans die of the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 200,000 are hospitalized annually with flu-related complications, such as pneumonia.

The timing of flu season varies each year, but it usually begins in October or November. Certain habits may make you more vulnerable to getting the flu.

To help stay healthy and prevent illness during flu season, you and your family should follow these five tips:

1. Get your flu shot.

An annual flu vaccine is the best way to reduce the risk that you will get the flu and spread it to others. Each year, medical researchers will determine the most prevalent strains of flu, and then develop a vaccine that can prevent them. Your workplace may offer flu shots onsite. Your MissionPoint Health Partner can also help you stay up-to-date on all of your vaccines and immunizations.

2. Wash your hands.

When you touch something that is contaminated with germs, and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you could be running the risk of infection. Keeping your hands clean is one of the best ways to help prevent spreading the flu or other illness. Wash your hands thoroughly and properly: Get your hands wet, lather and scrub them with soap, then place your hands under the running water again and rinse them for 20 seconds.

3. Eat healthy.

Your diet may lack the nutrients necessary to keep your immune system healthy. Good nutrition can help you fend off infection and improve your immune response. Include plenty of vegetables and fruits — especially citrus fruits such as grapefruit and oranges — in your diet. Foods like garlic, tea, spinach, low-fat yogurt and red bell peppers are also known for their immune-boosting qualities. Remember to drink plenty of water as well.

4. Exercise.

If you exercise regularly, you’re improving your overall fitness and helping to boost your immune system. Physical activity can help flush bacteria out of your respiratory system and reduce your chance of getting the flu. Cardio, strength training and flexibility exercises are all excellent choices. Your MissionPoint Health Partner can offer advice and access to exercise programs to help you get moving.

5. Get lots of sleep.

Lack of sleep can wear down your immune system and put you at risk for high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity – which increases your risk of getting the flu. Sleep will help to improve your health and reduce your stress level, so treat it as a priority. Try to go to bed and wake up on a regular schedule. As an added bonus, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

Flu symptoms may include fever and chills, headache, body aches and fatigue. Consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing these symptoms. If you need help with getting your flu shot or other vaccinations, contact MissionPoint today!

Want more information? Call MissionPoint Health Partners at 855-288-6747 or email us at members@missionpointhealth.org to learn how a Health Partner can work with you to improve your health.