The flu season has cycled every year since 1931 when researchers discovered the flu originating from pigs. In 1933, they discovered that humans were capable of spreading the disease as well. But how can we avoid the flu, and what can we do to prevent this occurrence?
Flu season usually begins in October and lasts until March, with the month of February being the peak of the season. Typically, the season starts during the cold half of the year, however, the air then becomes more dry making the mucous membrane dehydrated. This prevents the body from recovering or blocking out respiratory virus infections.
As the flu season begins to approach there are a few precautions that can be taken to prevent getting sick. Annalise Lizarraga, Huntington Beach High School’s nurse, says that “washing your hands and not sharing drinks with other friends are the main things to prevent spreading illnesses.” This goes for food as well. Whether it is a sibling or friend, it is best not to share drinks or food with each other as someone might be carrying the flu that is simply not noticeable yet.
Adding on to Mrs. Lizarraga’s suggestions, not touching the face area can help prevent getting sick. On a daily, we are touching materials, shaking peoples’ hands, or picking up objects that carry thousands of germs. When contact is then made with the face, germs are then spread. This can cause sickness and even spread acne.
Especially during this time, it is important to keep surfaces clean. Try to wash bed sheets and towels as often as possible. Wipe down desks, keyboards, and chairs in the work space as many people use those objects everyday. Bacteria builds up and spreads onto people’s hands. This then turns into a continuous cycle.
Getting a flu shot can help prevent getting the flu. According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 40 to 60 percent of individuals that received the flu shot were put at a much lower risk of getting the flu. Which this, individuals, especially parents, are still afraid to receive or give their children the flu shot. This is because some believe it makes people more sick.
Mrs. Lizarraga states that, “Getting a mild form of the flu is a side effect of flu shots, but you’re preventing a much worse reaction if you actually did not get a flu shot. For example, even if you think ‘I don’t really want to get it,’ your friend over there might have asthma or diabetes, so if they get the flu from you, it’s going to be much worse for them.” Getting the flu shot does not only benefit the receiver, but helps those surrounding the individual too.
Some symptoms of the flu include aching muscles, fever, sore throat, chills, headache, and weakness. These are not to be confused by the common cold, which usually includes coughing, a stuffy or runny nose, and stomach ache. The flu consists of more severe symptoms and fatigue. If one experiences these symptoms, there are steps that can be taken for a faster recovery.
Make sure to get plenty of sleep. Sleep strengthens the immune system which will make it easier for the body to fight off the infection. Rest is especially needed when the body is feeling weak to help it recover.
Drink a sufficient amount of liquids to help replenish the body. The liquid does not only have to consist of water, but can also include tea or soups. This can help loosen mucus in the chest and sinus area and alleviate congestion. Water will hydrate the body so it can function properly.
Relax in a warm bath where it is steamy. Breathing the steam and moisture relieves pressure in the sinus, head area, and causes the swollen blood vessels in the nasal passages to feel temporarily at ease. Also, if a humidifier is accessible, it is suggested to use it at night to make breathing easier, as it loosens the mucus.
Cough drops only help sore or dry throats temporarily. One way to relieve itchiness is to suck on honey as it will help soothe the throat. Similarly, drinking hot lemon water can help with congestion and irritation. Although gargling a mixture of water and salt is not the best tasting, it is very beneficial. Doing this a few times a day will help decrease inflamed tissue because the salt pulls the mucus out.
Although the flu can often be hard to avoid, taking those few extra steps to try and avoid it can save the body from feeling weak and sick. Using these preventative methods can help the community and individuals immensely. Especially during this time of the year, it is extremely important to be cautions and help those who might not have strong immune systems. Even when the virus is caught, using certain techniques can help for a speedy recovery.