ATRIO Health Plans is working to spread the word that – if you haven't
already gotten a flu shot – there's no time like
right now to do just that.
For those who remain hesitant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
(CDC) makes a strong case:
"Getting an annual flu vaccine is the first and best way to protect
yourself and your family from the flu. Flu vaccination can reduce flu
illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu,
as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. In 2017, a study in
Pediatrics was the first of its kind to show that flu vaccination also significantly
reduced a child’s risk of dying from influenza."
The CDC additionally notes:
- Everyone who is at least 6 months old should get a flu vaccine this season;
- Getting vaccinated is especially important for those who are at high risk
of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, if they contract the flu;
- High-risk groups include:
►People with asthma, diabetes, or chronic lung disease;
►Those ages 65 and older;
►Individuals who live with or care for others who are in a high-risk group.
The Washing-Wellness Connection
Getting vaccinated is step one in shooing the seasonal flu. Step two, while
it sounds incredibly simplistic, is to wash your hands thoroughly and
frequently. These specific steps are suggested:
- Work up a healthy lather with running water and soap; using antibacterial
soap isn’t necessary.
- For a minimum of 20 seconds, exuberantly wash your palms, between your
fingers, and the backs of your hands.
- If you don’t have access to soap and water, hand sanitizer can be
used; however, the hand sanitizer should be at least 60 percent alcohol.
While most of us dread humid weather, if your goal is to fend off the flu,
it’s time to embrace humidity. That’s because humid air and
the flu virus appear not to mix. Although scientists haven’t nailed
down the particulars, their suspicion is that droplets containing flu
virus shrink rapidly in dry environments, thus enabling said virus to
float around for a longer period of time. Conversely, it’s hypothesized
that – in moist air – flu-virus droplets remain heavy and
fall to the floor faster.
The moral of the story is this: purchase a humidifier pronto, but be sure
that it’s designed to keep the humidity level between 40 and 60 percent.
Fruits and Veggies Good; Adult Beverages Not So Much.
Consuming too much alcohol not only can impair your judgment, it also can
impair your white blood cells’ ability to fight off flu viruses;
and your white blood cells’ passivism can remain in effect for up
to 24 hours after you’ve imbibed. Consequently, experts recommend
limiting consumption to one drink per day throughout flu season.
Your flu-fighting strategy also should include stocking up on fruits and
vegetables. Fruits and veggies come equipped with immune-boosting antioxidants
that are fierce competitors when it comes to battling the free radicals
that are programmed to lower your body’s natural defenses against
threats such as the flu. So, load up on fruits and veggies – particularly
those in the brightly-colored category – as they pack the most powerful
antioxidant punch. Filling a mug with green tea also is recommended.
Step by step, you
can get through this flu season flu-free.