Avoiding the flu doesn’t have to be difficult

Scared woman looking at man coughing in bedAccording to the Weekly Influence reports both Canada and the United States are at peak levels of a particularly bad flu season.

We know that the flu shot is not the magic bullet to preventing the flu and it is up to us to take care of ourselves to ensure we remain healthy.

Do you keep yourself healthy? Do you follow the rules? I’m willing to bet that you don’t.

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Last week I was vacationing on a cruise ship. We’ve all read about the sailings where most of the passengers were infected by a virus and it takes a wonderful vacation and turns it into a living nightmare. As we boarded the ship in Miami, the local news was reporting that there were 317 pneumonia and influenza-related deaths for the previous week alone. That certainly prompted me to bring out the hand sanitizer and to ensure I was following all the suggested rules and I’m not even in the high-risk category.

What I was very disappointed to see during our cruise was how few people didn’t heed the warnings. At every restaurant, there were several staff members with large bottles of hand sanitizer for you. There were permanent stations to dispense hand sanitizer everywhere across the ship. More than half the people I saw walked right past them without a little shot of sanitizer. That shot takes less than one second of your life, could actually save your life, and people complained it made their skin dry, their nails brittle, or they didn’t like the smell.

In the restrooms, there were signs everywhere instructing you to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds. For an entire week, I saw perhaps three people actually wash for a full 20 seconds.

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Here are some ideas that you should apply immediately to ensure you don’t contract nor spread the flu this season.

If you start to feel lethargic, listen to your body and sleep!

Take one morning to sleep in as long as your body needs to sleep in. If you have children, arrange for someone else to take them for the night, for someone else to get up with them in the morning, or for them to take care of themselves until you get enough sleep. You’re right; some of you will sleep until noon (most of us will want to!). If you are sleeping, the body is healing itself, and that is necessary to ensure you don’t contract the flu. If your body didn’t need that sleep, you wouldn’t sleep that long.

If sleeping in isn’t your thing, a better option is to go to bed very early one evening. If the kids go down at 7:30 p.m., go with them. If you are alone, go to bed even if the sun is still shining. So what if you wake up at 4 a.m. — you’ll feel better in the morning (remember that healing effect that sleeping has). 

Water, water, and more water

Keeping yourself hydrated is extremely important to keeping your body healthy and virus free. We know that drinking six to eight 8-ounce glasses a day is good for you. It helps boost your immunity and provides you a bit of an energy boost too. Coffee, tea, soda, etc. do not count. Make sure you have pure water and lots of it! 

Exercise

Ensuring you exercise daily is vitally important to keep those nasty germs away. I don’t mean you have to go to the gym and run the treadmill or lift weights for hours each day, but you have to keep yourself moving.

Invest in a pedometer to ensure you force yourself to get 10,000 steps daily. You’ll be surprised how hard that can be. You are boosting your immune system with each extra step.

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Washing your hands, using sanitizer, staying away from people who are sick, drinking large amounts of water, taking vitamins, getting enough sleep, and exercising are all things that we should be doing on a regular basis anyway.

Don’t be the one that spreads the flu around. Don’t be the one who causes someone else to be sick, and don’t be the one who potentially kills someone else.

Taking care of yourself is important. Taking care of the others around you is equally as important.

Now go wash your hands and have a glass of water!

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