We are already over half way through Winter, however the peak flu season hasn’t hit yet. Data from Flutracking, a survey backed by various Australian and New Zealand government health bodies shows that in Australia on average, between 2012 and 2016, the peak flu season didn’t hit until August. So as more people around you contract the flu how do you protect yourself?
General Practitioner Dr Toby Smith from UQ Health Care’s St Lucia clinic said the first and most important way is to get your flu shot.
“The flu shot not only helps to reduce your risk of getting the flu but it also helps to prevent people around you from getting the flu including those at most risk such as older people, those with weakened immune systems and children,” Dr Smith said.
“Flu viruses are spread by tiny droplets when people with the flu cough or sneeze.
“You can become infected with a flu after touching a contaminated surface then rubbing your eyes, nose or mouth.
“Even though it is so easily spread there are ways we can try and prevent these nasty viruses and help each other if you do come down with a flu.”
Dr Smith recommends six tips to avoid the flu as we approach the peak flu season.
Get the flu shot
The best and most simple way to reduce your risk of contracting the flu is to get immunised each year.
Wash your hands
Clean your hands regularly with soap and water or hand sanitiser, as this will help reduce the risk of infection with the virus.
Adequate water intake is essential to ensure your immune system is working effectively and also aids in eliminating toxins from your body. Aim for at least eight glasses or two litres of water a day.
A varied diet with lots of fresh fruit and vegetables is an important factor in any healthy lifestyle. Foods high in vitamin A, vitamin C and zinc will all help to keep you healthy during the flu season.
Regular exercise helps to boost circulation allowing your immune cells to better patrol your body and fight off infections before they can take hold. As an added bonus, exercise also causes the release of endorphins which make you feel happier too.
Cigarette smoke irritates the lining of the nose and throat making it easier for viruses to cause an infection. Smokers also tend to have a more severe reaction to viral infections, including the flu, than non-smokers.