How To ... Stay flu free this winter

2014-05-21 13:51

It’s the season of red noses and blood-shot eyes. Dr Marlin McKay, a general practitioner based on the West Rand, shares five simple tips for reducing your chances of getting flu.

1. Flu vaccine

Go to your nearest pharmacy or general practitioner (GP) and get a flu vaccine. “The best way to avoid influenza is through a flu vaccine. It doesn’t mean you won’t get the flu, but it will come in a milder form,” says McKay.

2. Hand hygiene

Avoid contact with people with the flu. If you are in contact with them, wash your hands. The virus is contracted through direct contact. Washing your hands with warm water for a substantial amount of time will rid your hands of germs and keep you healthy.

“It’s not about the soap you use. It’s about the length of time your hands spend under hot water rubbing together and washing away the germs. Wash your hands for the duration of two Happy Birthday songs,” he advises.

3. Healthy diet

“It won’t help you to pump yourself full of Vitamin C and other vitamins while you are sick with flu,” says McKay. Rather follow a healthy diet all year round. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, which will support your immune system – reducing the likelihood of illness.

4. Exercise

Exercise on a regular basis, whether it’s a brisk walk or a jog. This will strengthen your immune system and make your body stronger and ore able to fight off the flu virus.

5. Hydrate

Drink lots of water. Dehydration can easily happen in the cold and dry winter season. Dehydration slows down the immune system’s function, making it weaker to fight off viruses.

If the flu has already hit you, McKay recommends bed rest. “Stay at home and rest. This will make your body recover faster and it will reduce the spread of the virus to friends and colleagues.”

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