How to keep the flu far away from you

The flu is always miserable. Fortunately, with a little forethought, you can avoid catching the bug this season. Here are ten tips to help you stay safe from the misery of influenza.

1. Break out the tissues. The CDC strongly recommends covering your nose and mouth with a tissue anytime you cough or sneeze. After the tissue is used, toss it in the garbage. To actively protect yourself from other people who are without tissues, share by giving them some of your tissues.

2. Wash your hands often and well. Anti-bacterial gel can be used as a replacement when water is not handy, but nothing can replace the simple act of scrubbing your hands and sending the germs down the drain.

3. Don’t touch your face. Bacteria will enter your body through the eyes, nose and mouth. Even if you have rubbed your hands all over a contaminated surface you’ll be all right as long as you don’t put your hands near your face. Breaking the habit of touching your face will allow you to stay safe in between hand washings.

4. Get the rest you need. Your body is naturally equipped to fight off many bacteria on its own, provide you are well rested. Running on empty will run down your immune system and make you more susceptible to illness.

5. Eat healthy to keep the immune system strong. This goes with getting enough rest. The healthier you are, the more likely you will be to fight off infections that should break through the other defenses. Visit your doctor prior to flu season to make sure you are as healthy as possible.

6. Avoid sick people. That’s not to say you should shun them completely, but don’t get too chummy with them. If you do have to be around them, take the tissues with you and offer to share.

7. Wipe down common surfaces in the household with disinfectant cleaners to prevent the spread of germs. Focus most heavily on items that are touched by all those dirty hands like phones, faucets, door knobs and light switches.

8. Avoid crowds as much as possible. After all, you can’t really offer tissues to complete strangers and far too many people haven’t mastered the art of sneezing and coughing into their hands.

9. When a family member is sick, take the time to put a sheet on the couch before they lay down. Have them use the same couple of blankets throughout the illness and rotate all their bedding through the washer on a daily basis. Take care that you don’t touch your face with your hands or the bedding in the process.

10. The best prevention is a flu vaccine. One little prick with the needle will spare you a week of misery. There are also nasal spray vaccines available now for those people who really can’t bear the thought of needles. Your Los Angeles doctor will be able to provide you with the flu shot right for you. Sign in to Angie’s List to see which of the 5,000 family physicians have been highly rated and recommended by Angie’s List members.


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flu-shot (Photo by Courtney St. Onge)
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