It’s January and flu season is among us once again. You hear talk of it in the row behind you in chapel, in the seat next to you in class and even outside of the Clause office as your write an article about it. It’s everywhere and it is coming to get you–not to be dramatic or anything.
According to the trusted WebMD, the “percentage of the U.S. population that will get the flu, on average, each year: between 5% and 20%.” It also stated that the peak months are January and February. WeatherBug Meteorologist John Bateman states in his nationwide report on the influenza that 48 states in the U.S. have reported to having widespread activity of the virus.
In light of these grim statistics, here are some easy ways to stay away from the flu this season.
1.Get the flu shot.
I know, I am not a huge fan of needles myself, but it’s the number one thing that will help you stay away from the flu. You can get this shot from your local doctor, but APU’s health center also offers the shot for $20. You don’t need to make an appointment, but it is first come first served.
The flu shot, however, is not for everyone. According to APU’s Health Office webpage, “those with severe allergy to chicken eggs, those who have had a severe reaction to an influenza vaccination in the past, those who have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome within six weeks of getting an influenza vaccine in the past and those who currently have a moderate or severe illness with a fever,” should not get the vaccine.If this is you, there are other precautions that you can take.
2.Avoid people with the virus.
On a small college campus this task may seem impossible, but I’m not advising to completely avoid them, just be careful. Make sure you are not sharing drinks, food or even clothing with someone who is sick. Avoid large groups in places such as malls, grocery stores and areas enclosed with little ventilation. Now, I know that this gets harder when your roommate or family member gets the flu, but the same rules apply. Don’t avoid them altogether, just avoid their sickness. Disinfect your room or house more often and be sure to carry sanitizer with you.
3.Build that immune system.
Eat healthier. It is as simple as that. Former WebMD writer Jeanie Lerche Davis states in her article “Prevent Flu: Healthy Habits Beat the Virus” that you need to eat more vegetables.
“It’s got to be fueled with natural vitamins and antioxidants found in healthy foods. Eat dark-green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits. They’re packed with numerous antioxidants, plus vitamins A, C, E, and beta-carotene,” wrote Davis.
To build your immune system you must also exercise.
“A daily 30-minute walk — or three 10-minute walks — is the minimum you need,” says Davis.
Now on an average day as a college student, I have class on both campuses as well as needs to go get coffee or a place to do homework. Instead of taking the trolley, walking back and forth from class will get you the minimum amount of exercise needed to begin building your immune system.
Sleep is another part to staying healthy. Getting proper sleep allows for the building up of the immune system. In college, this is not as easy since there are papers, studying, work and social events that sound better than sleeping. But getting 7-8 hours of sleep is important and if that means planning ahead or taking a nap the next day, then do it.
Let this be a disclaimer: if you follow these tips religiously, that does not mean that you will not get sick, but it may help. Now as a good friend of mine would say, Live long and prosper.