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How to Protect Yourself Against the Flu

Each year, as much as 20% of the U.S. population will get the flu. While that may not seem like a high percentage at first, it represents more than 65 million Americans. And though outlets often talk about “cold and flu season” the two are anything but similar. While the common cold may go away on its own in just a few days, the flu can be life-threatening. In fact, each year flu-related symptoms land roughly 200,000 people in the hospital.

But the good news is, the flu is very preventable. You can significantly reduce your chances of getting the flu by:

Getting Your Flu Shot

While there are many ways to protect yourself against the flu, getting a flu shot is by far the most effective. Each year, the flu shot reduces your chance of getting the flu by more than 70 percent — pretty good odds, right?

Washing Your Hands Often

A good rule of thumb is to wash your hands every time you walk past a sink. Whether you just went to the bathroom or are about to eat, wash your hands with soap and warm water.

Staying Hydrated

With the right liquids, that is. Water should be a staple in your diet every month, but it’s especially important around the holidays. We also advise drinking alcohol sparingly or not at all, as it can lower your immune system.

Avoiding People Who are Sick

Though this is often easier said than done, try not to get too close to people who are sick. Especially when houses are closed up tight for the winter, germs can spread from one person to another very fast.

Cleaning More Than Usual

Especially if you’ll be hosting holiday gatherings, clean your home regularly. Your surfaces, floors, and your bathroom should be cleaned every few days.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is one of the first things to go when holiday desserts start being rolled out, but making healthy choices is incredibly important. Because winter foods tend to be high in carbs and fat, limit your “indulgences” to once or twice a week. Eating breakfast and loading your plate with fruits and vegetables is a good way to avoid overeating.

Still haven’t had your flu shot? Stop by Bloomfield & Plymouth Urgent Medical Care for preventative vaccines and immunizations, such as the flu shot.