According to the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), between 5 and 20% of the U.S. population will catch the flu virus this year. While most people who catch the flu recover after 7-14 days, some 200,000 are hospitalized each year due to complications. The good news is that you can reduce your risk of catching influenza by taking some simple precautions.
#1) Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands on a regular basis will help protect you from catching the flu, cold and other transmissible illnesses. However, handwashing involves more than just running your hands under cold water. For maximum effectiveness, begin by soaking your hands in lukewarm water, followed by lathering them with soap, scrubbing, and lastly rinsing and drying.
#2) Get Vaccinated
It’s never too late to get a flu vaccine. The CDC recommends everyone over the age of 6 months get vaccinated as soon as officials produce the current season’s vaccines. Normally, about three to four of the most problematic strands of influenza are chosen for use in vaccines. Granted, the flu virus often mutates, but getting vaccinated will protect you from the most common types for the respective season.
#3) Vitamin C
Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that’s known to boost immune system function when taken in large doses. Researchers recently conducted a test to determine the efficacy of vitamin C when used on patients with the flu. They found that hourly doses of vitamin C (1000 mg) taken for 6 hours and then 3 times daily greatly offered significant relief of symptoms in patients with the flu.
“Overall, reported flu and cold symptoms in the test group decreased 85% compared with the control group after the administration of megadose Vitamin C,” wrote the study’s researchers. An 85% reduction in symptoms is pretty impressive to say the least.
#4) Stay Hydrated
Keeping your body hydrated plays a key role in its ability to ward off illness. Unfortunately, most people go throughout their daily lives in a state of mild dehydration, placing them at risk for catching the flu and cold.
So, how much water do you need to maintain good health and immune function? There’s really no easy answer to this question, as it depends on your age, levels of physical activity, metabolism and gender. Some people follow the eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day rule, but this isn’t necessarily accurate. Just remember to listen to your body and drink when you are thirsty. Also, avoid drinking soda and other sugary drinks, and instead opt for H2O.