Here's how to get through flu season this year without getting sick

Photo by Oli Scarff/Getty Images

The flu is no joke. It can knock you about for days and make you feel rotten the whole time. Discount Drug Stores pharmacist, Melissa Hui, has some tips to help survive the impending flu season so that you can try and come out the other end unscathed.

Winter forces us to spend more time indoors. More time indoors with other people makes it easier for disease to spread and that’s when the flu strikes.

Taking steps to minimise your chances of getting the flu is always a good idea. So Discount Drug Stores pharmacist, Melissa Hui, has offered up five simple tips to take care of yourself during the flu season. You’re probably already doing some of these but it never hurts to have a reminder.

Make hygiene a top priority

As obvious as it seems, making a conscious effort to wash your hands and wash them properly makes a big difference.

“The flu virus can easily spread and is most commonly caught through the nose and eyes,” Ms Hui said. Washing your hands helps reduce the chances of incidental hand contact passing the virus from hand to face.

Get vaccinated

“With 2017 being one of the nation’s worst flu seasons on record, it’s vital that people book in for a quick and easy flu vaccination to safeguard themselves and those around them against the flu,” Ms Hui said.

This year children between six months and four years old qualify for free flu vaccines across most of Australia. People aged 65 and over as well as pregnant women are eligible for free flu vaccines through the National Immunisation Program.

Even if you’re not part of one of those groups, you should still head down to your local pharmacy to get a shot from a qualified pharmacist or nurse practitioner.

Don’t let these myths scare you away from a flu shot

Flu shots work, and are a smart way to reduce the chances that you’ll end up sick this winter. But that’s not the impression you might get if you listen to the rumour mill. Flu shot myths abound, and it’s time to put the biggest ones to rest.

Exercise regularly

“Research has shown that those individuals who partake in 30 minutes of moderate activity at least three times a week have stronger immune systems,” said Ms Hui. Yoga or going for a walk are both great low-impact ways to get some daily exercise.

Ensure you’re getting enough sleep

Sleep is important and with the busy lives people live it can be hard to get enough.

Getting a good night’s rest is well worth it. According to Ms Hui, “Getting an average 7 – 8 hours of sleep per night will improve the body’s health and wellbeing, allowing it to maintain appropriate immune function and diminishing your chance of an infection or illness.”

Consume plenty of fruits and vegetables

Antioxidants and essential vitamins found in fruit and vegetables aren’t a miracle cure but they are helpful in boosting your immune system. “Green vegetables, berries, mushrooms and onions are a few healthy foods that help build and nourish your immune system. Try adding some berries to plain yoghurt or adding another handful of green veggies to your lunch or dinner for a great nutrient kick,” says Ms Hui.

There’s no sure-fire way to avoid the flu. I guess you could seal yourself away in a sterile bunker but that somehow seems worse than catching the flu. Taking these simple steps is a much more reasonable approach.

This first appeared at Lifehacker Australia. See the original here.

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