As Halloween and the holidays approach, so does an infamous time of the year known as the flu season. And with the ongoing pandemic, maintaining good health is especially important. Fortunately, there are a number of ways to do so.
Wash Your Hands!
This is a simple method you’ve probably heard many times before — washing your hands is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself. Did you know that 80% of common infections are spread by hands? They also come in contact with millions of germs every day. When washing your hands, be sure to lather them with soap on the back and between your fingers, then scrub for at least 20 seconds before rinsing them off. You should wash your hands before and after eating, using the restroom, treating a wound, blowing your nose, coughing, sneezing, touching an animal, coming in contact with garbage, and whenever you feel the need.
When you are out and unable to access soap and running water, a good alternative to washing your hands is using hand sanitizer. The CDC recommends finding a brand that contains at least 60% alcohol. Carrying a small tube of hand sanitizer with you is a great way to cleanse your hands on the go. Additionally, hand wipes are also a viable option.
Wear Your Mask Correctly!
It’s common knowledge to keep your mask on around other people during the pandemic as well as when you are sick. However, many people are unaware of the correct procedure to wear your mask. You should have it over your nose, supported by a nose wire, covering your mouth, and fit snugly without gaps. Your mask should also be clean — throw away disposable masks after they have been used for too long and regularly clean reusable ones.
Get Your Flu Shot
Getting your flu shot goes to great lengths in strengthening your immunity to viruses and preventing sickness. Many people probably find it scary, but don’t worry! You’ll only feel it for a split second, and the benefits far outweigh the short-lived pain.
Drinking water and other fluids combat viruses in a multitude of ways. Fluids aid in relieving congestion and releasing mucus. Additionally, they help virus-fighting white blood cells circulate your body more freely and deposit oxygen into your blood. When sick, factors like increased metabolism, medicine, and vomiting can all cause dehydration. So, you should stay hydrated both as a preventive measure and a restorative one.
Eat Nutritious Food
A healthy diet gives your body the nutrients it needs for your immune system to function properly and keep you safe. You should be eating 2 ⅕ cups of vegetables and 2 cups of fruit a day for optimal health.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleeping is absolutely essential to good health. After every day, your body needs time to recover. Often, we are infected without even knowing it, and our immune system fights off these infections. Sleep is necessary to do so. Additionally, your body produces cytokines during sleep, which are important for fighting infection and inflammation. At least 8 hours of sleep are recommended for teenagers.
Cover Your Cough or Sneeze
Coughing or sneezing into the crook of your elbow rather than out into the open prevents germs from spreading to other people and places. If you accidentally cough or sneeze into your hand instead of your elbow, wash it!
Avoid Touching Your Face
Touching your face spreads germs from your hands to vulnerable parts of your body, such as your mouth and nose. If it is necessary to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean!