5 Ways You Can Protect Yourself From Flu : There haven’t been too many positives resulting from over 20 months of restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 crisis, but one glimmer of good news may surprise you.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) reported that cases of influenza(flu) dropped precipitously during the 2020-21 flu season, which runs from October to May. In the 2019-2020 season, more than 38 million people in the US became sick with influenza and nearly 22 000 of them died, according to the CDC. For the 2020-21 flu season, 2136 people became sick with the flu, resulting in 748 deaths.
From 22,000 deaths down to 748 a year later is nothing short of astonishing for one of the most dreaded annual viruses. Why have cases of flu dropped so dramatically? A record number of people received their flu vaccine shots during this time but medical researchers don’t believe that to be the main reason for the mild flu season.
It turns out all the masking, hand washing, social distancing and other public health protocols instituted since the onslaught of Covid-19 have worked to stop the flu in its tracks.
“Though caused by a different virus from the one that causes COVID-19, the flu is also a respiratory viral disease, so everything we are doing to slow transmission of COVID-19 should also reduce transmission of flu,” said Dr. Eili Klein, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins University.
Dr. Klein, however, warned that this good news comes with a serious caveat that people need to pay attention to.
“Because of the current restrictions and precautions everyone is taking this season, far fewer people will be infected or exposed to the flu virus, and therefore won’t become immune to certain strains of the virus,” he said “So, the number of people who may have more severe infections next year is likely to be greater because immunity will be lower.”
Add to this the fact that many states have relaxed their public health restrictions over this past summer, and you have a recipe that could see the winter 2021 flu come roaring back over the next couple months. Although experts are divided on exactly how the scenario will play out, it’s clearly wise to take extra precautions and prepare yourself as flu season is right around the corner.
With that in mind, here’s five things you need to incorporate into your daily routine to help you avoid getting the flu this year.
Get a Flu Vaccine
Flu Vaccines are the number one mitigation effort you can use to protect yourself. The CDC recommends that anyone six months or older get a flu vaccine. Immunity usually lasts around six months so that will cover you for the entire season. Most insurance policies cover the flu vaccine and you may be able to get one for free if you don’t have insurance. Costs for a flu vaccine vary from $40 for the quadrivalent vaccine which protects against four different flu viruses, up to $70 for the high-dose vaccine which is usually given to people over 65. Both vaccines are available at all national drug store chains and urgent care providers.
Take Plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is essential for several reasons, including maintaining healthy bones and teeth. But a study at the Massachusetts General Hospital found that Vitamin D also helps the body fight acute respiratory infection, such as flu, which accounts for millions of deaths globally each year.
People get vitamin D from their diet and also from exposure to the sun, which is greatly reduced in the darker, colder winter months. It’s important to choose foods that are rich in vitamin D. These include fatty fish, such as salmon, trout, tuna and halibut, which offer higher amounts of vitamin D, or fortified foods, such as milk and yogurt. A vitamin D supplement taken daily is also a good idea.
Use Hand Sanitizer
We’ve all become accustomed to using lots of hand sanitizer since Covid appeared. And as the shorter days descend upon us, and with flu also poised to make a comeback, it’s no time to stop now.
The problem with hand sanitizer, though, is choosing the right brand. Since March, 2020, the hand sanitizer market has literally been flooded.
Muse Health offers a hand sanitizer combined with a moisturizer that not only protects against germs, it leaves your hands unscathed. Muse Health contains 62% Ethyl Alcohol and kills 99.9% of germs in just 15 seconds leaving you with instant protection.
The brand’s social and cultural imprint checks the right boxes as well. It is CDC and FDA compliant, cruelty free, vegan, and made in the USA without parabens, dyes, and petrochemicals. They even donate a bottle to someone in need for every bottle purchased, and have donated over 45,000 bottles to date.
Switch To All-Natural Home Cleaning Products
Keeping safe and virus free starts in the home but did you know that most commercial house cleaners contain substances linked to serious health problems? Yes, they smell good, and can kill viruses and other germs. But why expose you and your family to poisons when you don’t have to?
Here’s an idea for a homemade disinfectant cleaning spray that is all-natural, non –toxic and also disinfects, sanitizes, deodorizes, and even kills mold and mildew. Not only will you kill any and all infectious germs, you will protect yourself and your family from toxins, and save money to boot.
Buy An Air Purifier
Since the onset of Covid-19, air purifiers have been all the rage. But do they really work to remove viruses from the air? Studies have shown that they do, to a point. Air Purifiers containing the HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air) have performed well in tests. Note that the air purifier will remove viruses that are floating in the air, not ones lying on counters or on the floor. This means you have to keep up with your enhanced cleaning methods to ensure a completely safe home.
And while air purifiers will trap viruses like the flu, note that it won’t necessarily kill them. Still, a high quality air purifier can add another layer of protection for you and your family.
The flu is a highly contagious influenza virus that can cause severe illness, hospitalization, and even death. While there is no way to 100% avoid the flu, there are ways to help protect yourself, minimize exposure and build your immunity. These are just some suggestions. Consult your doctor to learn more about protecting yourself and your family.
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