Body aches, runny nose, chills, fever -- nothing ruins the most wonderful time of the year quite like the flu. When these symptoms sneak up on you, you could be in bed for a week or more. But you are not alone in you congested haze; according to the CDC, there have been about 9.2 million and 35.6 million cases of the flu every year in the U.S. since 2010.
Even if you have come down with this virus in the past, this year can be different. There are some simple ways to protect yourself from the flu season. All it takes is a little extra effort on your part.
One of the most important preventative measures you can take it to get a flu shot. Of course, this is just one proven strategy for warding off the dreaded influenza. Keep reading to discover more ways to protect your health during flu season.
Studies have shown that this vaccination can reduce your risk of illness by 40% to 60%, and it prevented an estimated 5 million flu illnesses during the 2015-2016 season. This is because about two weeks after the injection, your body starts producing antibodies to attack the virus when it enters your body.
While the flu vaccine is an important line of defense, there are some small habit changes that can protect your body as well. To start, wash your hands often throughout the day. Be sure to do so for at least 20 seconds to properly sanitize.
As you pick up germs throughout the day, keep your hands off of your face. The average person touches their face up to three times per hour in public places. This habit increases your chances of getting sick, since viruses enter through your mucus membranes.
Since you spend most of your day at work, it’s important to keep your workspace clean as well. The average office has 400 times the amount of bacteria as a bathroom, and by disinfecting this space regularly, you can reduce your sick days by 30%.
While the flu can be tricky to completely avoid, there are steps you can take to strengthen your immune system and keep viruses out of your body. If you do start to experience flu symptoms, stop in to your nearest urgent care clinic to be checked by a doctor. Doing so will help you kick the flu quickly and feel like yourself again.