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Keeping the Flu Away: 4 Things Family Physicians Want You to Know

Abigail Aaronson -- With an estimated 5-20% of Americans coming down with the flu every year, according to the CDC, and more than 200,000 hospitalized from flu-related complications, here are tips to help ensure that you stay healthy this flu season.

With flu season approaching, many family physicians are gearing up to treat the onslaught of flu patients. During this time, doctors want you to keep the flu away by getting a flu shot. However, there are some other steps you can take as well:

Practice good hygiene

One of the very best things you can do to prevent the flu this winter is to practice good hygiene. Keeping yourself clean is the best way to keep the germs away. During the flu season, family physicians say that you should always wash your hands with hot water and soap for several minutes. Alternatively, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. You should also try to keep your hands away from your face whenever you are out in public. The flu can easily be spread when germs on your hands get into your nose, eyes, and mouth.

Keep your home clean

Whether or not someone in your home is suffering from the flu, you should always make a habit to keep your home clean and as germ-free as possible this time of year. You don't have to go overboard, but you do need to keep the floors clean, especially if shoes are worn inside your home. Be sure to vacuum the carpet and either steam clean or mop your wood or tile floors. Also be sure to clean off surfaces that are touched on a regular basis, such as light switches, faucets, and doorknobs. You can simply spray these down with an anti-bacterial spray or rubbing alcohol.

Eat a healthy diet

To help keep the flu at bay, many family physicians recommend that you eat a healthy diet. A diet full of vitamins, especially vitamin C, is a great way to keep you healthy during this time of year. Be sure to eat a lot of healthy greens, such as spinach or kale, as well as colorful fruits and vegetables. Some great things to keep in your diet include citrus fruit, peppers, broccoli, carrots, and any other produce that you enjoy. Also, be sure to consume at least eight glasses of water each day.

Consider supplementation

Some family physicians may recommend that you take some supplements during flu season to help prevent any sickness. One supplement you may want to try is zinc. Zinc is helpful in keeping colds away by enhancing your immune system if it is deficient. Vitamin D is also a good supplement to take if you happen to be deficient. It can reduce your chance of getting sick with respiratory infections, which usually come along with the flu virus. Echinacea is said to be helpful in reducing symptoms of respiratory infections, and it also helps you get well faster. If these are options you want to consider, be sure to talk to your doctor about it first.

If you do get sick with the flu, the most important thing family physicians want you to remember is to take care of yourself. Make sure to get a lot of rest and take in as much fluid as possible. Once your fever is gone, you will need to stay home for an additional 24 hours to make sure the virus is completely gone.

Abigail is an experienced healthcare professional who has been writing about health and beauty issues for many years of her life. She loves to inform people about plastic surgery procedures so that people know what they are getting into before they make such a commitment. Planning on visiting loved ones in hospitals in New Orleans? Learn more about how to be courteous on your visit at:

© 2014 Abigail Aaronson

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