If you are sick and tired of getting the flu or a really bad cold each year, take heart and follow some practical advice to try to avoid being felled by germs this season.
Flu shots should be your first line of defense, especially if you’re at high risk. Vaccines are recommended for young children, pregnant women, seniors and those with chronic medical conditions. However, remember that your immune system takes a few weeks to develop flu-fighting capability.
Here are some other common sense preventative measures from Dr. Jeff Robertson, Chief Medical Officer for Regence, the largest not-for-profit health insurance carrier in the northwest:
Get enough rest, exercise and eat right. Eat a balanced diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Good nutrition, including foods rich in vitamins A, C and E, helps support a healthy immune system. Examples of such foods rich include citrus fruits, green vegetables, nuts, carrots and tomatoes. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids
Keep your distance from people displaying symptoms like sneezing and coughing, Robertson stresses.
Wash hands often. If no sink is available, use alcohol-based hand wipes or sanitizing gel.
“Keep sanitizing gel or alcohol-based hand-wipes in your car, kids’ backpacks, purse or brief case,” Robertson says. He also points out that some hand-wipes are not alcohol-based and won’t be as effective, so read labels carefully.