Five Ways to Avoid the Flu This Season

No one wants to get sick. Though any virus or bacterial infection can be annoying, coming down with the flu can be even worse. Since the flu is a virus, it is difficult to treat and there is no “cure.” That means that the best approach to fighting the flu is not getting it in the first place.

What is the Flu?

The flu is a viral infection that spreads quickly, especially during the fall and winter months. It is a respiratory illness that can feature symptoms of congestion, soreness, fatigue, cough, fever, and more. In most cases, patients recover in a week or two. However, for high-risk populations, the virus can be serious or even deadly. Those over the age of 50, have weakened immune systems or chronic health conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, are pregnant, or have young children in the house are more vulnerable. Healthcare workers are also at higher risk.

Since the flu is a serious illness and can take a person off their feet for weeks, it is important to try and avoid it if possible.

Here are five of the most effective ways for you to avoid catching the flu this year:

1. Get Vaccinated Annually

It’s no coincidence that every drugstore, urgent care center, and doctor’s office advertises a flu shot each year. The flu vaccine is the single most effective way of protecting yourself from the flu.

Some people believe that being vaccinated can actually give you the flu. However, this myth is totally false. Since the flu vaccine is made from inactive influenza virus, it cannot infect you. In order for the vaccine to be effective, it is recommended that you get a flu shot annually. Within just two weeks, your body will be protected against flu symptoms.

When flu season approaches, Velocity Urgent Care offers flu vaccines. Simply walk in when it’s convenient for you to any of our convenient locations across Virginia.

2. Cover Your Cough and Sneeze

While covering your cough won’t keep you from getting the flu, it will help stop the spread of germs. The flu virus itself is passed from person to person through fluids. When you cough or sneeze, tiny droplets spray into air and can infect others.

When you need to cough or sneeze, try to do it into a tissue. If that isn’t available, use the inside of your elbow instead. If everyone does their part during flu season, the virus will have a much more difficult time spreading.

3. Wash Your Hands

You’ve heard it once; you’ve heard it a thousand times. During flu season, it becomes even more important to put good hand hygiene into practice. The flu virus can live on surfaces for hours after it lands there. This means you can pick it up on your hands without even knowing.

Ideally, you should be washing your hands with soap and water throughout the day. You should also practice and hygiene before meals, after using the restroom, and after coughing or sneezing. If you can’t get to a sink, try carrying a small bottle of hand sanitizer or alcohol-based hand wipes.

4. Don’t Touch Your Face

Even if you are washing your hands well, germs can stick around. To reduce the risk of exposing yourself to the flu virus, keep your hands away from your face. According to studies, most people touch their face around 15 times per hour.

By keeping this in mind, you can cut back on touching your face. Specifically, you should avoid your eyes, nose, and mouth, otherwise known as the “T Zone.”

5. Live A Healthy Lifestyle

Anyone can come down with the flu. However, those who practice a healthy lifestyle on a daily basis are much less likely to. This is thanks in part to habits that help strengthen the immune system. To help avoid the flu virus, try these healthy tips:

* Get your sleep: Most adults need 6-8 hours of sleep nightly. Teens and children need even more, up to 10 or 12 hours per night. Getting enough sleep helps the immune system function at its best.

* Reduce stress: High stress levels on the regular can inhibit the immune system. Try to lower your stress by using calming activities like deep breathing, yoga, walking, or journaling.

* Exercise regularly: Exercise does a tremendous amount of good for your body. From keeping your heart healthy to boosting your energy to helping you fight off infections. Regular exercising 30 minutes each day is key to helping avoid illness.

* Eat your fruits and vegetables: Fueling your body with healthy foods gives your immune system the components it needs to fight invaders. Dark-green veggies and many different fruits contain the important antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals to power your immunity.

Unfortunately, you can’t always prevent the flu. If you’ve tried your best but still get sick, Velocity Urgent Care is here for you. Our caring team of healthcare professionals will diagnose your illness quickly and prescribe the treatment you need to start feeling better.

Each of our Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia locations offer convenient walk-in hours, or you can check-in online to avoid the wait. To find out more or reserve your spot now, visit us online at www.velocityuc.com.