As the weather changes, your risk of contracting influenza increases. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every flu season differs in timing and severity. While it is impossible to know what strain of the virus will be most prevalent this year and when it will emerge, there are a few standard steps you can take to decrease your chances of getting sick.
1. Wash your hands
You will want to wash thoroughly with warm water and soap more often than usual when the flu is going around. According to the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh, this simple step is extremely effective when it comes to stopping the virus in its tracks. Since influenza is spread by person-to-person-contact, it is especially important to wash your hands after touching a sick individual or things that could have come in contact with germs, such as seats and handholds on public transportation or money. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also recommends keeping alcohol-based hand sanitizer at the ready.
2. Maintain healthy habits
Having a healthy routine is vital for keeping your immune system strong. Make sure you are eating healthy foods, exercising regularly and getting plenty of sleep. The HHS also recommends drinking plenty of fluids to so that you do not become dehydrated, which can weaken your immune system.
3. Equip your house
It is important that you create a healthy environment within your home to combat influenza. In addition to disinfecting communal surfaces, like kitchen counters and television remotes, there are certain appliances that can help keep your house virus-proof.
According to CNN, you should use humidifiers to improve the air quality of your house. Ideal air humidity levels fall somewhere between 40 and 60 percent, but during the winter they can drop to as low as 10 percent, which is as dry as the Sahara Desert, notes the source. Adding a humidifier will not only improve air quality but also help with viral symptoms such as coughing and congestion.
Air purifiers are also helpful tools for stopping the flu from spreading. CNN suggests placing these machines in the rooms you spend the most time in, such as your living room, kitchen and bedroom. They work to effectively remove harmful microbes from the atmosphere, essentially disinfecting the air you breathe. Make sure your purifier contains a HEPA filter for the most thorough air cleaning.
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