How to Live Through Flu Season (Without Getting the Flu)
Flu season is upon us, and with all these different strains of the flu running around recently, it’s best to keep a more pro-active approach if you’re worried about getting sick. College is a cesspool of germs and creates a great environment to grow and infect. There’s hundreds of people squished together, worried more about where they’re going, and what they’re doing than whether the guy next to them is coughing or sniffling a bit more than usual.
Same for work environments. Offices are a great way to spread germs. Ever have a bug go around the office? Same concept. Warm environments with multiple hosts make germs very happy.
But what if you want to kick the flu and general sickness in the ass this season? Well, I’ve come up with some tips that I use (I’m prone to getting sick) to help you stay on top of your health.
**Disclaimer: Anything short of living in a bubble presents a risk of falling ill. Following these steps might decrease your chances but does not claim to prevent sickness overall.
Yeah, I’ve heard all the excuses and reasons behind not getting a flu shot. From “But I never get sick!” to “But I don’t want to go to the doctor/pharmacy/health center.” The truth of the matter is if you’re worried about getting the flu the first step you should take is to get a vaccine.
Get a Flu Shot
Yes, it doesn’t protect against every strain. And yes, you can still get the flu if you’ve gotten vaccinated. But it may not be as bad of a case. You may only be out of commission for a week or two where as someone not vaccinated might take almost a month.
You can usually get one from your doctor, any pharmacy, and sometime your work or school might be giving away free or reduced vaccines.
Need help finding a flu vaccine? Check out Vaccine Finder
Get a Good 8 Hours Sleep
This is almost just as important as the vaccine. If your body is stressed and exhausted and you’re not sleeping well, your immune system will suffer. And the lower your immune system, the more susceptible you are to falling ill.
Getting the proper amount of sleep is key for a healthy lifestyle. And a healthy lifestyle. Imagine how life would be if you were tired from lack of sleep and then exhausted from having caught the flu. You’d be down and out for quite a while.
If you’re torn between pulling an all-nighter and sleep, I’d choose sleep.
Eating foods that are high in the vitamins and minerals your body needs to function on a daily basis will keep everything running smoothly. Fruits and vegetables are a great way to entertain both.
Ever wonder why chicken noodle soup has been a staple for those stuck in bed with a cold? It’s warm, hydrating, and contains those healthy vegetables that can help you get better. It’s the perfect meal for when you’re sick.
If you’re constantly running around with school, activities, clubs, and work without any real down time, you’re going to run out of steam. You can only run on caffeine and power naps for so long. Before you know you’re chugging along on fumes and you’re so exhausted. Next you know it’s lethargy from a full schedule turns to sniffles, coughing, and a set of antibiotics.
It’s the same general idea: the more you push your body to and over the limit, the more likely you are to become sick.
Related Link: 6 Ways to Relax, De-Stress, and Unwind
Stay Away From Anyone Who Caught It
Especially on a college campus, the flu and other illnesses of the like are very easily passable between people. If your friends or roommate catch the flu, try your hardest to stay away from them until they’re on antibiotics or feeling completely better.
My college had to have a bit of a mini quarantine during the flu season. They would always advise anyone who was sick to stay home from their classes, and there was even a special proxy form a friend could fill out to get you a meal from the cafeteria without having to leave your dorm.
So if you don’t want to get sick, keep a distance to anyone who’s been diagnosed with the flu until they’re feeling better.
Keeping yourself hydrated just makes you feel better overall. Your body is made up of mostly water, so that makes sense, and it’s a lot easier to end up dehydrated when you’re sick. Ever notice how you’re told to drink more when you’re sick? My favorites are various herbal teas and just plain old water. Add some ice and it’s suddenly something I want to drink all the time.
What to do if you catch the flu?
If you’ve somehow managed to catch the flu this season, don’t fret. Sometimes it happens, even with the best defenses. There are multiple strains of the flu and it’s impossible to vaccinate for every kind. So here’s the LBTY Flu Guide:
- Stay in bed and rest as much as you can: Rest is definitely a good way to help your body combat this virus. You will you feel like sleeping most of the time anyway.
- Take any medication you’re prescribed: This is absolutely important! If you go to the doctor and they give you meds to help you through this, take them. ALL of them. Don’t stop once you start to feel better, or skip because you don’t feel like taking them. There’s a reason for whatever has been prescribed .
- Use and OTC meds to counter symptoms if necessary: Sometimes the flu may come with a sore throat, unstoppable coughing, being extremely congested, etc. If your doctor doesn’t give you anything for the symptoms (sometimes you might get an RX cough syrup or something) ask which over the counter medications would be best for you. (You should have packed some OTC meds if you followed my Top 4 Things You Forget To Pack For College Post)
- Make sure you eat. Preferably healthy: I know when you’re feeling crappy, sometimes the last thing you want to do is eat. But in order to keep your body working right to fight off the flu, you’re going to need to fuel it up. Keep a bunch of chicken soup on hand so all you have to do is heat it up and you’re good to go.
- Take it easy. Stay home from work or school: I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a co-worker or classmate coughing up all over the place while they have the flu. I know sometimes you don’t want to miss class or work (believe me, I understand PTO issues) but most employers who care about the well being of their company will be more than okay with you taking some time off so you don’t infect the rest of the office.
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