How to Prevent the Flu this Season

How to Prevent the Flu this Season

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. In most people, it causes mild symptoms, such as fever, sneezing, headache, and a stuffy nose. 

However, in young children, the elderly, and people who are immunocompromised, the flu can lead to serious complications. Patients suffering from obesity, asthma, heart disease, and lung problems are also at risk for developing serious complications. 

The flu spreads easier during cold weather because our ability to produce mucus in our nose, which is a natural defense against viruses, is slowed down by lower temperatures. Another hypothesis on why viruses spread easier during the cold season is poor ventilation indoors, as most people keep their windows shut and their heaters turned on. 

Below, we asked our experts at Bethel Family Medicine about the best ways to prevent the flu during the cold season. 

Get vaccinated 

The best way to prevent the flu is to get your yearly vaccine. Every year, scientists make predictions on which strain is more likely to be dominant during the flu season and design a vaccine to train immune systems to fight a particular strain of influenza. 

Protection from a flu vaccine starts about two weeks after vaccination and lasts anywhere between six and eight months. Anyone can benefit from the vaccine regardless of their health status or age. Infants as young as six months old can be vaccinated as well. 

Avoid contact with people who are sick

The flu is transmitted through droplets, and the best way to avoid these droplets is to avoid contact with people who cough, sneeze, or have a stuffy nose. 

Clean your hands 

Frequent hand-washing, especially after going shopping or visiting areas with a lot of traffic, is a must. If you can’t wash your hands, you may benefit from using hand sanitizer. 

Avoid touching the nose, mouth, and eyes 

Your hands are constantly touching areas that other people have touched. Bacteria and viruses are everywhere, but by avoiding touching your nose and mouth, you can prevent these harmful microbes from entering your body. 

Maintain a healthy lifestyle 

A diet high in processed foods not only increases your risk for weight gain but may also cause immune dysfunction. Processed foods are often high in calories, unhealthy fats, and sugars, yet don’t provide all the micronutrients necessary to maintain optimal function of the immune system

Prevent and treat the flu with us 

Our experts offer immunizations for patients of all ages and recommend seeking medical advice if you contract the flu, especially if you’re pregnant, suffering from chronic diseases, or taking medications that suppress the immune system.

Children under the age of five and the elderly also benefit from medical advice if they suffer from the flu, even if their symptoms are mild. Get peace of mind by scheduling an appointment to get your yearly immunization or receive personalized care for your symptoms. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Is Diabetes Reversible?

If you’ve heard stories about reversing diabetes, you may wonder what is fact and what is fiction. Is it really possible? What if you have diabetes? Is it too late? Find out what clinical research says about reversing diabetes.

A Beginner's Guide to Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is an incurable disease, but with the right lifestyle changes, you can prevent complications and enjoy a long, fulfilling life. Find out how to get started on better managing your diabetes.

Why You Shouldn't Ignore a Sore Throat

Sore throats are common, but when the symptoms don’t go away on their own, it could be an indication of an infection or condition your body can’t fight on its own. Learn about the causes of a sore throat and the signs you may need medical help.

5 Ways (and Why) to Eat More Fiber

Are you constantly bloated and constipated? If so, it could be that your diet is lacking in sufficient fiber intake. Find out how fiber can improve your digestive health and keep you satiated for longer.

What a Pap Smear Tells Us About Your Health

Pap smears can save lives by detecting abnormal cells that could become cancerous, early on. Learn what you can expect during a pap smear, and find out how often you should get one.