As the worst of the flu season comes upon us, people are always in fear that they will be struck down and have to take time off work and stay in bed in order to get better.
Numerous people have different methods for the best ways to prevent contracting the flu, from having a healthy diet to getting enough sleep at night. How effective are these methods really?
Experts at House Call Doctor reveal the five top tips to prevent the flu and stay healthy – and their reasons why.
1. Do get the flu vaccine
Many people are skeptical, but flu vaccines are one of the best ways to protect ourselves from flu. Governments around Australia in 2018 have provided free vaccinations for children aged five years and younger and also those aged 65 and over. These ages groups are particularly vulnerable to influenza, as they are often exposed to the illness by their surrounds (for example childcare centers and aged care facilities) and have lower immune systems.
There are many tales surrounding the flu vaccine asking whether it works. The vaccine is constantly updated each year based on the strand of flu that is predicted to affect many people. Even though you might experience flu symptoms, the vaccine does not contain any live viruses, so you cannot contract flu by getting vaccinated.
2. Keeping warm
Australia can become freezing in the colder times of the year. So, try and keep your body covered as much as possible, which will help keep you warm. The experts say the best way to achieve this is to layer as many thin clothes as possible. That way, if you are starting to feel warm, you can take off one layer and still keep our body temperature high.
Make sure before you go to bed that you have plenty of extra blankets and clothing layers on hand, as it can get quite cold, especially before dawn.
3. Wash regularly
Maintaining your hygiene is a very important step in the fight against flu. For instance, the way influenza is spread, is by passing from person to person, or touching objects contaminated by the virus.
Washing your hands using antibacterial soap for at least 15 seconds, is the best way to prevent this. By washing your hands thoroughly and often, you will stay clear of any germs that may infect you and stop the disease in its tracks. The best time to wash your hands is before you eat.
Also, you need to shower at least once each day. This will make sure you keep your skin clean from sweating – even though in Winter it feels like you don’t sweat. In fact, experts say that you might even sweat more in the colder months than in Summer.
4. Maintain a healthy diet
Having a good immune system can stem from having a healthy diet. Eating a balanced and nutritional meal will boost your immunity and help fight off any viruses or infections. Anything from whole grains to fresh vegetables is always recommended.
A study in the U.S found that foods with high levels of the vitamins B6 and B12, are the best to boost your immunity.
Foods with B6 include:
- Cereal grains
Foods with B12 include:
5. Go to bed early
Having an early bedtime, resulting in sleep of up to at least nine hours, can help maintain a healthy lifestyle. The ways you can achieve this include:
- Turn off all screens including mobile devices.
Looking at your screen before you go to bed is something most of us do as part of a routine – however, the blue light emitted from the screens can seriously interfere with your body’s level of melatonin (also known as the hormone that helps you sleep). By turning off your screens before you go to bed, you are more likely to get a better night’s sleep.
- Create a routine for bedtime.
By making a routine for yourself, it will be easier to get those desired nine hours of sleep. It will also help you fall asleep faster and easier.
- Don’t eat too close to your bedtime.
Eating just before you go to bed will make you unable to relax and more alert. So, try to avoid snacking, and eat a few hours before sleeping.
- Exercise at least once a day.
Regular exercise can help relax tensed muscles, which helps with getting to sleep.