The flu is widespread in 49 states, and the particular strain infecting people this year is not easily prevented by vaccine.
For some, the symptoms are severe, with people reporting being flat on their back for ten days or more because of fatigue, body ache, and a bone-shaking cough.
Flu patients have been flooding emergency rooms because of respiratory distress… to the point where California hospitals have had to set up triage tents in their parking lots in order to manage the deluge of patients.
The epidemic has become serious enough that more than a dozen school districts across the nation have closed their doors — sometimes for days at a time — to try to get in front of the virus.
The CDC recommends vaccination as your first line of defense, but whether or not you vaccinate, there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself from this year’s nasty flu strain.
First, avoid crowds when you can. Obviously, you’ll have to be around people at work, and your children may not be able to avoid crowds at school, but maybe skip opening night at the movie theater and avoid public transportation for the next month or so.
Second, pay attention to the people around you. If they’re coughing and sneezing, or just look unwell, keep your distance. If it’s someone you know, politely decline shaking hands or exchanging hugs.
Third, be aware that with the flu someone doesn’t have to be symptomatic to spread infection. Wash your hands frequently. As much as possible, avoid touching commonly handled objects like the door handles of public restrooms. And try not to touch your face or rub your eyes.
Finally, give your immune system some extra support. Drink plenty of water and green tea. Get lots of rest. Stay moderately active — at least go for a walk each day. And cut back on sugar and alcohol.
The flu is best avoided every year, but this year, even more so. Be proactive and protect your health.