By: Kaila Maness and Shawkat Harb
The 2017-2018 flu season has shocked the country with the severeness and devastation it has bestowed upon many. According to Dr. Daniel B. Jernigan, director of the influenza division of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H3N2 flu strain, a subtype of viruses that causes influenza, has run rampant all across North America, endangering many lives, which raises the question: What should a person do to avoid catching the flu?
Various methods exist to aid in the combat of this epidemic and can all lessen your chances at falling under the clutches of the deadly flu. First off, staying clean is one key component to combating the flu season.
The best way to stay cleansed is to wash your hands thoroughly and regularly throughout the day with soap and warm water. In addition to clean hands, keep surfaces sanitized. Disinfectant areas that are most likely to contain germs such as door handles, keyboards, cellphones and any other surfaces that you come in contact with during the day. Most disinfectants will do the job but it the easiest and most effective solution is bleach and water. Simply mix one tablespoon of bleach with one gallon of water. Keep this mixture in a spray bottle for easy application. By taking steps to stay sanitary, it will decrease your chances of getting sick and also aid those who may already be ill to get well sooner.
Another important factor this flu season is to maintain a healthy diet. Eating the right foods can largely reduce one’s chances at catching the widespread flu. It has been proven that eating less when one has the flu is very dangerous during the early stages of infection. Therefore, maintaining the right diet provides the body with the ability to create more immune cells to fight the disease. Dr. Peter Bidey, Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine, recommends eating foods that are rich with Vitamin C such as garlic, spinach soup, and other vegetables to build the immune system. Drinking warm fluids, such as tea, is another positive route to take according to ear, nose, and throat specialist Murray Grossan. If you are beginning to feel the effects of the flu, the steam from warm fluids can help to soothe sore throats and alleviate nasal congestion. Also, avoid caffeinated drinks, as it can cause dehydration.
The number one way to avoid the flu is it to get the flu shot. Although this year’s vaccine has proven to be less effective than past vaccines, it can still assist in combating the flu. However, don’t wait. The shot is not an instant guarantee, it takes a few weeks to be fully effective. If you are feeling the flu coming on taking medicine alone will not cure it, it will only lessen the effects. There is no cure, it has to run its course. That is why it is best to prevent it in the first place.
This year’s flu season has surpassed the expectations of everyone in America in terms of escalation and severeness. It is important to take every opportunity you can to lessen your chances of catching it. Staying sanitary, receiving proper medication, and even establishing a healthy diet have all proven to provide some relief during a time as distressing as this.