Each year, during National Influenza Vaccination Week (December 4th -10th), the CDC goes to great lengths to spread awareness about the steps individuals can take to protect themselves and their loved ones from contracting the flu. South County Physical Therapy, Inc. (SCPT) has seen first-hand how debilitating the effects of the flu can be, especially for high-risk individuals like pregnant women, seniors, children, and those with chronic conditions like diabetes, heart or lung disease, or asthma. That’s why we’re doing our part to share tips for stopping the flu in its tracks.
- Practice good hygiene. Good hand-washing practices and keeping hands away from your nose, eyes, and mouth can go a long way towards preventing illness. If you’re sick, stay home to avoid contaminating others for at least 24 fever-free hours. If possible, avoid contact with others who might be sick, and if you need to cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, and discard of it properly after use.
- Support a healthy immune system. Engaging in harmful habits like smoking, consuming too much alcohol, limiting sleep, and succumbing to high stress levels can derail your immune system, which puts you at a higher risk for contracting illnesses. Do your immune system a favor and load up on healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Women’s Health Magazine suggests consuming zinc-rich pumpkin seeds for their ability to aid white blood cells, and sweet potatoes, which are packed with Vitamin A to help combat free radicals.
- Exercise. SCPT always encourages physical activity, and for good reason. In addition to reducing the chance of developing heart disease and strengthening muscles and bones, an article in the U.S. National Library of Medicine reports that moderate physical activity can reduce your chance of contracting an illness. Take a 30-minute walk after dinner, swim laps at a community center pool, or try SCPT’s exercise videos at home.
- Get vaccinated. The CDC reports that approximately 200,000 people are hospitalized annually for respiratory and heart conditions related to the seasonal influenza virus in the United States. It is recommended that anyone 6 months of age and older gets vaccinated. The vaccine can decrease the severity of flu symptoms, protect expectant mothers and developing babies, and lower the chances of hospitalization.
SCPT encourages you to protect yourself and your family from the flu virus today for a safe and healthy New Year ahead!