Prep Time for 2012-2013 Flu Season
Is it Flu Season Already?
When kids return to school, it's time to begin preparations for the flu season ahead.
Even though most years the influenza season peaks in January and February in the United States, health officials advise that the viral infections begin as early as October.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention explain that the beginning of the flu season may begin at any time, since the various viruses pay no heed to calendar months. That's why it's important to begin preparations for keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from the flu as early as possible.
Tips for Getting Kids to Wash Their Hands
Hand Washing: Important Prevention
Year in and year out, health officials cite proper hand washing as the single most important factor in preventing the spread of the flu and many other illnesses spread from contact such as the common cold. WebMD advises that 80 percent of contagious illnesses are spread through touch.
At least 20 seconds of washing hands with soap and warm water is needed to ensure all surfaces of hands are cleaned, touching all surfaces including between fingers and under nails, then rinsing under running water is the recommended method. Any soap will do. Antimicrobial soap isn't necessary -- in fact, many health experts warn against its use.
If soap and water aren't available, use of a hand sanitizer is the second-best option. Use it as you would soap and water, making sure that all hand surfaces are covered.
"Superfoods" for Flu Prevention
Good Nutrition Important to Good Health
"You are what you eat." This axiom is as true in flu prevention as it is for many other conditions and illnesses.
A diet balanced in nutrients is important on a daily basis. A plant-rich diet, such as the Mediterranean eating style, provides important antioxidants and phytonutrients. Both of these substances are important to keeping your immune system in its best shape. Aim for seven servings daily of fruits and vegetables and three servings of whole-grain foods.
Prevention mentions yogurt, oats, barley, garlic, tea, chicken soup, fish, beef and mushrooms as foods known to boost your immune system. Strawberries, blueberries, citrus fruits are additional sources.
Importance of Sleep for Wellness
How to Get Ready for the Flu Season
Physical Activity and Water Intake as Flu Prevention Aids
Hand in hand with good nutrition in promoting your optimal health, an important factor in flu prevention, is the need for adequate hydration and moderate physical activity for 30 or more minutes most days of the week.
Too little or too much physical activity can weaken your immune system, making it more difficult for your body to ward off invading germs.
Adequate hydration is important at all times, but the drier air from indoor heating sources can allow miniscule cracks in your mucus membranes, rendering them easy sources for the invasion of bacteria and viruses.
In hydration, we are talking about water rather than sugary or caffeinated liquids. How much water do you need to drink each day? The University of Tennessee Medical Center advises two simple rules of thumb:
1) Divide your weight in pounds by two. That equals the number of ounces of water you need to drink each day (or)
2) For those people who exercise, multiply your weight in pounds by 2/3 to determine how many ounces of water you need daily
An additional aspect of influenza prevention is the need for adequate sleep. During sleep your body repairs and refreshes itself. When you get less sleep than you need, your immune system can't function as well as it should.
Early Flu Shots Protect All Flu Season
Weighing in on the Flu Vaccine
The topic of vaccinations often brings debate from people both pro and con. The annual flu vaccine developed for the prevention of flu strains predicted to be problematic during the flu season has its opponents and proponents.
Read the recommendations, consider the options and determine for yourself whether getting the flu vaccine for the upcoming flu season is for you and your family or not.
Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine relate that the best prevention against becoming sick with the flu is to receive a flu vaccine.
The recommendation is that everyone at least 6 months of age should get a flu vaccine this year. Because it takes approximately two weeks after receiving the vaccination before your body builds up its immunity to the flu, health officials are advising that people take the vaccination as soon as it is available in your community.
Talk to your health care provider if you have questions about the flu vaccine or whether you or your family members might be in a high risk group to develop potential life-threatening complications from influenza.
Other Hubs of Interest
- Homemade Chicken Soup For Cold and Flu Season
Making chicken soup for colds and flu is not an old wives tale. Chicken soup is full of minerals and antioxidants to help your body heal.
- What Is Influenza or Flu and Ways to Prevent It
Flu season runs October through May in the United States. Protect yourself and others from catching this illness through simple preventive measures.
- Prevent Flu With Immune Boosting Foods
- Top 10 Best Ways to Stop the Common Cold and Flu: Prevention and Cure
Cold virues can be stopped through preventive means, including cleaning techniques and cooking spices.