Annually, on average, between 5 and 20% of the US population gets the flu with tens of thousands being hospitalized and thousands dying from it. This costs the USA an estimated $10.4 billion a year in direct medical expenses and an additional $16.3 billion in terms of lost earnings every year. Each winter, flu-related infection put millions of people out of commission yearly, necessitating the need to take stringent preventative measures.
Immunity is a magic word as far as winter is concerned. When the temperature drops and windows and doors are kept close, viruses tend to thrive indoors and if your immune system is compromised you are likely to catch the newest flu strain doing the rounds. It is vital to ward off the early signs and symptoms of flu and to boost your immune system as much as possible in order to protect yourself from getting ill this winter. Being financially prepared for unforeseen medical expenses will give you peace of mind and will make facing the dreaded winter months a lot less harrowing.
Get a flu shot
A flu vaccination can significantly reduce the risk of contracting the illness by as much as 60% in the general population as well as decreasing the severity if you do get sick. The flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and older. The quadrivalent vaccine which includes a nasal-spray version inoculates against 4 different viruses and is said to offer better protection than the standard trivalent shot. The best time of year to get vaccinated is in October or November, a few weeks prior to when flu season is expected to peak.
Take a daily multivitamim
Multivitamins can go a long way towards boosting your immune system. Make sure to get one that offers as close to the recommended daily values of vitamins A, B6, B12, C and D as well as the minerals chromium, folic acid, copper, zinc, calcium and selenium. The best time to take your multivitamin is after a meal that contains some fat as this will enable you to absorb the nutrients better.
Stock up on hand sanitizer
Researchers at the Children’s Hospital in Boston studied 292 families for a period of 5 months and found that those who carried hand sanitizer with the, fell ill 59% less than those who didn’t. The reason for this is because, when used correctly, a good-quality hand sanitizer will eliminate nearly all germs.
The University of South Carolina conducted research that concluded that men who engaged in 3 hours of mild activity a day were 35% less likely to catch a cold, compared to those who were only active for 1 hour. Even better news is that you don’t have to participate in strenuous activity every day. Tai Chi, for example, reduces the release of catecholamine, a neurotransmitter that suppresses the immune system, reducing the risk of contracting flu and other illnesses.
By making small changes to your lifestyle such as eating healthy and sleeping you can significantly reduce your risk of falling ill this winter. Take the necessary precautions and avoid becoming just another American flu statistic this festive season.