Ah, fall. The change of seasons brings delicious coffee flavors, football tailgates, and welcome relief from scorching temperatures. Unfortunately, though, the fall also signals the start of flu season. If you’re interested in protecting your health through natural methods, you’ll be glad to know that there are several ways you can naturally boost your immune system and help prevent the flu during the fall and winter months.
Fast Flu Facts
Let’s review the basics of seasonal influenza (the flu) to better understand how to prevent its spread:
- The flu is a common respiratory illness that is highly contagious.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that up to 20 percent of Americans are affected by the flu every year.
- The flu is caused by influenza viruses A and B.
- Experts believe the flu is spread through respiratory droplets that are produced when speaking, sneezing, or coughing.
- The flu is most contagious during the first three to four days of illness.
- The most common symptoms of the flu include fever, chills, aches, cough, sore throat, congestion, headaches, and fatigue.
- Receiving an annual flu shot at the beginning of every flu season is the most effective way to prevent the flu.
Natural Flu Prevention Tips
While it’s impossible to definitively prevent viral infections like the flu, it is possible to lower your risk. Check out these natural methods that can help keep you healthy this flu season.
Wash Your Hands Thoroughly & Frequently
Although the flu is an airborne illness, it is often transmitted by shaking hands and touching frequently used surfaces. Reduce your risk and help keep others safe by washing away the flu virus! Be sure to routinely wash your hands with warm water and soap for at least 15 seconds. It’s especially important to wash your hands before meals and after coughing or sneezing.
Keep Your Space
Try to stay about six feet away from others when possible. (Sound familiar?) Much like COVID-19, the flu is passed through respiratory droplets that can travel a distance of six feet.
As tempting as it may be to stay curled up on the couch as the weather becomes chillier, engaging in routine exercise is a simple and smart way to bolster your immune system and improve your overall health. The immune system is the body’s defense against influenza viruses and other illness-causing germs. No need to buy a gym membership—activities as simple as taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood a few times every week can help keep you healthy this flu season.
Because sleep is critical to a well-functioning immune system, prioritizing sleep is a natural way to help defend against the flu and other pesky illnesses like the common cold. Try to limit caffeine intake in the afternoons and get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, consider taking a natural melatonin supplement.
Eat a Nutrient-Rich Diet
No amount of orange juice can guarantee that you won’t get sick, but diet undoubtedly plays a role in your overall health and how well your immune system can fend off infections like the flu. Try incorporating more fruits and vegetables into your diet and prioritize foods that are rich in immune-boosting vitamins A, C, D, and E, as well as zinc and selenium. It’s also important to consume lean proteins and foods/beverages that contain probiotics—friendly bacteria that live in the digestive tract and influence immune health. Speaking with your doctor about what foods and supplements are best for your specific health needs is a good idea.
In-Home Flu Treatment From DispatchHealth
Perhaps it’s a little too late to prevent the flu. If you are displaying potential flu symptoms and require care, turn to DispatchHealth. Our fully equipped medical teams provide on-call, in-home treatment to patients of all ages and with a variety of health concerns. While many people recognize us as a mobile healthcare provider, we deliver many of the same services as an emergency room and have rates similar to an urgent care clinic. Our teams can also provide in-home testing for COVID-19 and the flu, and do so while following the most stringent of sanitization and infection control protocols.
Request care from DispatchHealth by giving us a call, using our app, or going on our website. Our medical teams are available seven days a week, including holidays, and can be at your doorstep in a matter of hours.
DispatchHealth relies only on authoritative sources, including medical associations, research institutions, and peer-reviewed medical studies.
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