Stay flu free before finals: a TU flu season survival guide

It is better to be sick of studying than to study while sick.
As the days get colder and the store shelves are restocked with Cambell soup, it is no doubt flu season. During this time it is very easy to get sick but there are some practical strategies for staying healthy. Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can lead to a range of symptoms, from congestion, chills, body aches, to unbearing the pain and having the urge to miss class or work. The bright side is that there are several effective ways to prevent the flu.

Get vaccinated:
The first way to prevent the flu, and one of the most effective is by getting an annual flu vaccine. The flu vaccine is designed to protect against the most widespread strains of the virus, and it’s recommended for everyone over six months of age. By receiving the vaccine, it reduces the risk of getting sick and helps to prevent the spread of the flu to others. Local CVS offers free flu vaccination with most insurances. TU will be offering flu vaccines Nov. 6 and 16 in the Student Union Great Hall B from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.. If you are unable to attend either of these dates, there are other options. Weekdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. you can get the flu shot at the Hurricane Health Clinic.

Avoid close contact:
The weather is cold making it seem like the perfect time to cuddle. However, during this season it’s a good idea to minimize close contact with people who are sick or showing early symptoms. It is suggested to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus to others even when showing the slightest symptoms. The flu is highly contagious and close contact can increase the risk of transmission, therefore try to avoid large gatherings that include sneezing and coughing on everyone.

Stay clean and disinfect:
Hands are constantly grabbing and touching objects everyday. Frequently-touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, light switches and shared electronic devices can retain flu viruses. Regularly cleaning and disinfecting these surfaces can reduce the risk of contamination. It’s vital to pay close attention to public areas and shared spaces to avoid catching viruses.

Stay hydrated:
While it may be tempting to go to Starbucks everyday and get that hot latte, mocha or brewed coffee, adequate water hydration is essential for maintaining a healthy immune system. Drinking plenty of water helps your body function sufficiently and flushes out toxins. Herbal teas such as matcha, green, ginger, turmeric, hibiscus and peppermint are particularly packed with antioxidants that help protect cells, supporting a healthy immune system. Warm broths such as beef bone, chicken and vegetable soups can also provide extra comfort and hydration during the flu season.

Maintain a healthy lifestyle:
You may feel like staying home and laying in bed all day binge watching Netflix. However, a strong immune system is your first line of defense against the flu. This means it’s important to get enough sleep, eat a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, stay hydrated and engage in regular physical activity. These habits will help your body fight off infections more effectively.

Be prepared:
Getting sick is common during the winter season, so it’s essential to be prepared. Stocking up on over-the-counter flu remedies, tissues, masks, chicken-noodle soup and any prescribed medications. Staying home from work or school is the best thing to do to prevent the spreading of viruses to others, and make sure to follow healthcare providers’ advice.

Flu season is here, and nobody wants to be a victim to the virus. By taking initiatives, such as getting vaccinated, avoiding close contact, staying clean and disinfecting, staying hydrated, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being prepared you can reduce the risk of getting the flu. Furthermore, following social distancing recommendations, wearing a mask in densely populated areas and staying updated on local flu outbreaks can provide an additional layer of protection for you as an individual and the community as well. Taking the right precautions can significantly lower the risk of contracting those nasty viruses. Be sure to stay healthy and flu-free this season.

Post Author: Avril Comacho