The flu. It’s that scary, three-letter word everyone’s trying to avoid this season. It hit the U.S. hard in December and continues to leave its mark on the unsuspecting and unprepared.
A rapid-acting virus, the flu can suddenly unleash havoc once it is contracted. Typical symptoms include high fever, runny nose, cough, head and body aches, and sore throat. Antivirals, if prescribed soon after symptoms begin, can help lessen its bite, but will not cure all symptoms. Your best line of defense is to prevent getting the flu in the first place. Here are some tips for avoiding the flu this winter.
- Get vaccinated. The optimal time to receive your flu shot is soon after it becomes available in October, but if you’re a procrastinator, don’t despair. There’s still time. Even if the vaccine doesn’t match the exact strain of the flu virus, it can still help minimize symptoms.
- Wash your hands frequently. You should wash your hands often with soap and water. If a sink is not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Stay active. Thirty minutes of physical activity most days of the week will help keep your immune system in shape.
- Rest up. Aim for seven-to-eight hours of the quality sleep every night.
- Eat better. Follow the MyPlate guidelines to ensure you are getting the vitamins and nutrients your body needs from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy.
Try this smoothie recipe below. It’s full of ingredients to help you fight the flu this season.
Immune Booster Smoothie
- 5 large frozen strawberries,
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup frozen peaches
- ¾ cup Greek yogurt
- ¾-1 cup low-fat milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 10 blueberries
Mix together in blender. Serve and enjoy!
Guest post by Wendi Morgan, RN
Wendi has been a Registered Nurse for 25 years and a School Nurse in Daviess County (Kentucky) Public Schools for the last 17 years, where she currently serves as District Health Coordinator. Wendi oversees the School Health Program in DCPS and participates in the Wellness Initiative for the district. In addition to her job, she currently holds the position of President and Exhibitor Chair of the Kentucky School Nurse Association. In 2006, Wendi was named the Kentucky School Nurse of the Year by KSNA.