As painful as it is to embrace, fall is here. Not only is the outside temperature on the decline, but your risk for influenza is on the rise. While you can be plagued with the flu at any point throughout the year, a large number of people tend to get sick during the fall and winter months. Fortunately, there are a number of proactive measures you can take to protect yourself and your family.
Know The Facts
Since more people contract the flu in colder weather, there is a misconception that cold weather is to blame. If you already have influenza, exposure to cold air can definitely exacerbate your symptoms, but the weather isn't what causes you to get sick.
Influenza is a virus that is spread when you touch an object or surface that has the virus on it and then touch your nose or mouth. The more you avoid germs, the lower your risk. Make it a practice to always wash your hands with an antibacterial soap, disinfect any public surfaces before using them, such as the grocery cart handle, and always keep your hands away from your face.
Get Some Rest
Resist the urge to push your body to the limit. Make sure you are getting ample rest to stay healthy. Medically, sleep is thought to be a natural recovery period. During this period, your body's systems reset and restore themselves. When it comes to your immune system, this process is especially important.
The immune system is responsible for fighting off bacteria, viruses, and other harmful germs, including influenza. When you get a full night's rest, your immune system is stronger, but when you don't get enough rest, it's weak, which can leave you more vulnerable. Try to aim for 7 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep.
Head To The Gym
Now is a great time to head to the gym. Not only will you get a jump start on your summer body, but you can also drastically reduce your risk for influenza. When you engage in aerobic activity, this keeps you healthy and it also serves as a natural boost to your immune system.
In one study, committing to just 30 minutes of vigorous exercise, five days a week, lowered the participant's flu risk by 10 percent. If you don't have a gym membership, don't worry. There are a number of free online workout videos you can follow or you can even take a jog walk around your neighborhood.
Make sure you are taking steps to remain flu-free all season long. Contact your primary care physician for more information on staying healthy.