The flu seems to be everywhere and we’ve all heard the directive: Wash your hands! But after washing, then what? Eager to learn other smart tips for flu prevention, we reached out to Dr. Mia Finkelston who treats patients for LiveHealth Online and she offered 10 tips.
- Keep your hands off your face. Germs can travel from your hands into your mouth or nasal passages.
- Exercise regularly. Walk a dog or take a stroll with a neighbor. Go to the gym. Dance around your house to ’80s music. Whatever it takes to move, do it.
- Sleep regularly: Seven to nine hours of night is ideal. Sleep helps us thrive by contributing to a healthy immune system. The one-third of our lives that we spend sleeping, far from being “unproductive,” plays a direct role in how full, energetic and successful the other two-thirds of our lives can be.
- Do not binge drink or over drink at all. Binging on alcohol can lower your immune system, making it the perfect time for a bug to jump on board.
- Drink fluids: Eight glasses of a non-caffeinated beverage a day. Water is ideal.
- Eat a nutrient-dense diet daily. Add nuts (walnuts are the best), whole grains (popcorn is one) and complex carbs when you can. Always eat plenty of vegetables.
- Get your flu shot and keep all immunizations up to date. This year’s data shows that the current flu shot is about 62 percent effective. While not ideal, it provides some protection–so don’t skip getting vaccinated.
- See your doctor yearly or as needed — especially if you’re over 35 years old.
- Stay positive, mindful and do good things. Helping others makes you feel better, and when you feel good your stress hormones are lower and you stay well.
- If you start to feel ill, stay home so your germs don’t spread to those around you.
Comments and opinions from Dr. Mia Finkelston are hers alone. This is an essay and is not considered medical treatment.