Even though seasonal flu comes around as early as October, it can linger into the spring, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To prevent illness from catching you off guard, you can:
» Get a flu shot. “No matter how late it is into flu season, you should get vaccinated, if you haven’t already,” said Rachel Anderson, DO, board-certified family medicine physician at Archbold Primary Care. “The flu vaccine does not give you the flu—it will continue to protect you throughout the season.”
» Eat for your immune system. Include foods in your diet that feature immune system-supporting nutrients. You can find vitamin C in bell peppers and broccoli, protein in lean meat, eggs and beans, vitamin D in fortified cereals and dairy products, and beta-carotene in tomatoes and sweet potatoes.
» Move more. Exercise can help rid the lungs of germs, help antibodies move faster through the blood and reduce stress hormones, according to the National Library of Medicine.
» Get in a good hygiene groove. “Washing your hands often, keeping them away from your face, and sanitizing frequently touched objects and surfaces are basic health practices that can protect you from a host of infectious diseases,” Dr. Anderson said.
Let the Deep Clean Begin
If someone in your home comes down with a respiratory illness, such as the flu or COVID-19, it’s important to clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces as soon as possible to reduce the chances of others getting sick. Cleaning removes dirt and some—but not all—germs from a surface. Disinfecting kills germs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC recommends regularly cleaning surfaces with soap and water and then using an Environmental Protection Agency-registered disinfectant or a diluted bleach solution to disinfect. Be sure to follow product instructions carefully, as some cleaners may not be appropriate for certain surfaces. Also, never mix products, as dangerous fumes may result.