Vitality

5 Natural Ways To Avoid The Flu In 2017

Nobody likes getting sick in the winter. As if the weather wasn’t miserable enough, you’re tired and cold, your head hurts, and your sinuses are all messed up. The flu comes with the added pleasure of body aches and serious complications like secondary infections.

But with everyone around us coughing and sneezing, it seems impossible to avoid picking up the bug, shy of getting the flu vaccine — which isn’t 100 percent effective anyway. Whether you get immunized or not, certain precautions can help lower your risk of contracting this illness.

Read: Telling a Cold from the Flu

Don’t put things in your mouth

That includes your fingernails, for all the people out there who bite them. It also means you shouldn’t open packages with your teeth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warn that germs can spread when the carrier touches something that healthy people later touch. So if someone in your office, for example, has a virus and shakes your hand, and then you put your fingers in your mouth, you are giving the flu a warm welcome. You are also putting your own germs onto fingers that will probably then touch a public surface. And the cycle continues.

hands-1047634_1920 Your hands are probably teeming with germs right now. Image courtesy of Pixabay, public domain

Do not touch

And now that we brought it up, try not to touch public surfaces (or make sure you disinfect before you touch anything else), because other people have probably contaminated them — banisters, door handles, subway poles, even pens at your local bank.

Wash your hands

There is a reason every guide to being healthy includes washing your hands. Every time someone coughs or sneezes into their hands and then doesn’t wash up before touching literally anything else, they risk spreading their infection to another person. You risk catching it if you touch a common surface or object and then don’t clean your hands. The CDC says in the absence of soap to use an alcohol-based cleanser. This is crucial even if there doesn’t appear to be any ill people around you: “Most healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick,” the CDC says. “Some people, especially young children and people with weakened immune systems, might be able to infect others for an even longer time.”

Drink tea

Tea is delicious even when we are healthy and drinking hot liquid feels great in the winter, whether we are braving the cold outside or cuddling up indoors in our pajamas. It has an added bonus: preventing illness. One ear, nose and throat specialist, Dr. Murray Grossman, told ABC News that he relies on black or green tea with some lemon and honey. Each one of those ingredients plays a role in fighting the flu: “Drinking the tea and breathing in steam stimulates the cilia — the hair follicles in the nose — to move out germs more efficiently,” he said. “Lemon thins mucus, and honey is antibacterial.”

If all else fails: Isolate yourself from the rest of humanity

Think of it as a sort of vacation. According to Live Science, sick people can exhale flu-containing particles over at least 6 feet. You could try to keep a 6-foot bubble of personal space around you at all times — or an even larger one for added security. Additionally, encourage your coworkers to stay home when they are sick and return the favor by doing the same yourself.

See also:

Dangers of the Flu vs. the Flu Shot

6 Great Ways to Spread Germs

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