We have dedicated all our February posts to influenza and for good reason: as we mentioned at the start of the month, February is the peak of flu season in North America. This means you are more at risk of catching the flu in February than in any other time of the year. You can reduce the risk by being extra careful this month. Getting the flu shot and limiting your contact with flu victims are obvious precautions but here are five unexpected ways you put yourself at risk for the flu which will require you to be a little more diligent:
GETTING WORKED UP
If you spend too much time worrying about the scary stories you’ve read online about the H1N1, you will only make yourself more vulnerable to the flu. Research has shown that anxiety results in problems like insomnia and depression etc. which can weaken your immune system and put you at a higher risk for catching the flu. So, as the old adage goes, a piece of good advice this month is ‘don’t worry, be happy’.
We don’t want you to become an unsocial hermit but you should be aware that even shaking hands is a reliable way of getting someone else’s germs on your body. Kissing and hugging are similarly risky. You should try to maintain at least a 6 foot distance between yourself and a flu patient. However, we understand that that only allows for a cold wave from across the room. So if you feel you must shake hands to avoid being rude, make sure to wash your hands afterwards (and before you touch your face with them).
Here’s yet another reason for you to give up smoking. Research shows that the tiny hair inside the nasal and respiratory passage (that fight disease and germs) are weakened by smoking which make you more vulnerable to illnesses like the flu. There’s also significant evidence to suggest that lungs previously damaged by smoking can put you at a higher risk for developing serious complications from viral illnesses.
The right amount of exercise has obvious health and immune system benefits. However over exercising can weaken your body’s defense and make you vulnerable to the flu. So make sure you don’t over exert yourself this month. Also, hitting the gym ever so often isn’t a good idea in itself too. You can catch germs from the people and machines in the facility.
Consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short amount of time makes it harder for you to fight off infections. It can also dehydrate which reduces your body’s mucus production. So cut back on your drinking this month.
If you think you are coming down with the flu, visit us at the MedHelp clinic right away where our team of doctors and medical experts will have your diagnosis and treatment started right away. Join us again for more unexpected ways of catching the flu and what you can do to protect yourself.