Thursday, November 6, 2014

How to keep yourself Flu-free During Season Change?

When autumn ends and winter begins, millions of people fall prey to flu as their body fails to adjust with the seasonal changes. Obviously it's not the weather that makes them sick, but bacteria and their weak immune system makes them sick. Generally, seasonal flu begins from October and ends on May but its peak period is from January to March. As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 5% to 20% of the US population gets affected by the seasonal flu every year. Nearly 200,000 people are hospitalized and about 3,000 - 49,000 people die because of flu. You can easily protect yourself and your loved ones from flu during season change by following these simple tips.
How to keep yourself Flu-free During Season Change?
Seasonal flu is a respiratory disease that is highly contagious, which means it spreads from person to person. It is caused by the influenza viruses (A, B and C) and spreads through the air via coughs, sneezes or talks or by touching the infected surfaces or object. Old people, kids and people suffering from chronic health conditions are at high risk of developing flu. Coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, fever, headache, fatigue and chills are the common symptoms of seasonal flu. You should not confuse between common cold and flu as both are different. Normally, common cold is milder than flu. Most of the patients get well and return to their work in 3 to 4 days.

Tips to Prevent Flu During Season Change


Flu vaccine is the first and vital step to protect against flu. Vaccine is very helpful in decreasing the chances of catching this serious disease. Anyone above 6 months should have the flu vaccine every year. This not only lowers the risk of catching the flu, but also avoids the odds of spreading it to other people. Two types of vaccines are available in the market, such as shot or nasal spray. The best time to get seasonal flu-shot or nasal spray is from early fall to December but you can still have it in January or beyond.

The flu shot vaccine is for children aged more than 6 months and adults with chronic medical conditions, while the nasal spray vaccine is for healthy people aged between 2 - 49 years. The flu shot vaccine can be also taken by the people with good health. Pregnant women should avoid the nasal spray vaccine. Mild side effects of flu shot vaccine are soreness, redness and swelling at the injection site; fever; headache; fainting (in adolescents) and nausea as well as mild side effects of the nasal spray are wheezing, headache, runny nose, muscle aches, vomiting and fever.


The best way to decrease the spread of flu is by preventing the spread of germs. For this, you have to make these below practices part of your daily routine.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizers, particularly after coughing or sneezing.
  • Follow the proper hand washing technique while washing hands.
  • Wear naso-oral facemasks to avoid spread of virus.
  • Use tissue or a handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing.
  • Throw the used tissues in a dustbin.
  • Stay 3 to 6 feets away from people who are suffering from flu.
  • Don’t share personal care items (drinking utensils, food, towels, bedding, etc) with others.
  • Use a humidifier to increase humidity for limiting the spread of virus.
  • Clean the keyboard, tables, telephone, fridge doors and door handles with soap and water or detergent.
  • Stay home if you get sick with seasonal flu.
  • Don't touch your eyes, nose or mouth.

General Health Practices

  • Consume supplements high in "probiotics."
  • Eat food loaded with protein and complex carbohydrates.
  • Get sufficient sleep as it helps your body to relax.
  • Do exercise regularly.
  • Drink plenty of fluids like water, soups, fresh juices and fat-free/low-fat milk.
  • Eat Vitamin C foods like oranges, tomato, papaya, datiles, grapefruits, etc. to boost your immune system.
  • Stay away from coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption and quit smoking.

Antiviral Medicines

Antiviral medicines can be taken to prevent flu. They are available in different forms like pills, liquid or an inhaled powder. You must have a prescription from your doctor or health care provider to buy them. Antiviral medicines like amantadine and rimantadine protects only from influenza A virus, so they are not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Antiviral medicines like oseltamivir and zanamivir protect you from both, influenza A and B viruses. Oseltamivir and zanamivir are also more effective compared to amantadine and rimantadine. Oseltamivir is available in pill and liquid form while zanamivir is available in powdered form. You can take chemoprophylaxis with these two antiviral medications. People suffering from asthma or COPD should avoid the use of zanamivir.

Video of tips to prevent getting the flu from youtube:


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