The Flu & You – How to Protect Yourself
Besides being preoccupied with holiday gift buying, uppermost in many Americans’s minds is the coming flu season. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) noted that America experienced an especially nasty season earlier this year, with 29 states reporting high levels of “influenza-like” symptoms. It would stand to reason, then, to expect something similar in the coming months.
“I think people are unimpressed with the seriousness of the flu,” says Dr. Frank Esper, a viral respiratory disease expert at the UH Case Medical Center in Ohio. “But … the flu is the number-one cause of infectious disease death.”
Every year, adds Esper, anywhere from 5,000 to 20,000 people die from influenza-associated illnesses, which is why the CDC recommends the following tips:
• Get shot. The best defense against the flu is a good offense, say experts, so getting a flu shot is the first step in doing battle—and the sooner the better.
• Become vigilant about hand washing. Make soap and water your best friends during the flu season. Washing your hands for 15 seconds plus (the time it takes to sing Happy Birthday three times or the ABCs) is key. This is especially important when working in common areas such as copy rooms or front offices.
• Drink more water. While certain juices have been shown to prevent fewer cold symptoms, drinking water every day, all day, is a better option, say experts, not only to keep the body hydrated, but to flush unwanted toxins (and viruses) out. In this way, water is crucial to maintaining optimal health. While water has a myriad of benefits, research has shown that some waters have more health benefits than others. This, say experts, is why drinking alkaline ionized water such as Alkame Water should be an essential part of anyone’s health-plan. The mild alkalinity is recommended by doctors because it allows for more effective hydration, which supports an optimal pH-balanced body and is a powerful source of antioxidants, which boost the immune system.
• Be a couch potato. Normally, we are urged to get up and move, but if you are sick, it’s best to stay home so you can rest and not spread germs to others. The rule of thumb is to stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever is gone without use of medicine to lower the fever. This will ensure you are past the point where you are likely to spread the virus to others.