Fighting the Flu
Here are some low-cost ways to keep yourself healthy this winter and help keep the flu bug away.
For some, the flu means a few days of sniffles and missed work. For others, flu can be a life-threatening disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that flu costs the U.S. $10.4 billion dollars for in- and out-patient care to address effects of the flu virus across the entire population.1
Fighting the flu doesn’t have to be expensive. It may not even require a visit to your doctor. There are lots of low-cost ways to keep yourself healthy this winter and help keep the flu bug away.
1. Get a flu shot. It’s obvious, but the flu virus changes each season and vaccinations are tailored to these various types of flu. The CDC recommends that all of us, six months and older, get an annual flu shot. The flu shot you got last season won’t be effective against this year’s flu.
The Affordable Care Act mandates free flu shots to everyone with insurance purchased through a health exchange, and almost everyone with private health insurance as well (double-check with your insurance carrier). You can get free and low-cost flu vaccinations at some local pharmacies, at work, at community events, health fairs, school functions – there are lots of places that offer low-cost or free flu shots. Take advantage of the #1 defense against flu – a flu vaccination designed to fight this year’s flu virus.
2. Wash your hands – a lot! The flu virus can be picked up just about anywhere. Shopping cart handles. Shared workplace keyboards. Yes, even doorknobs. You can’t avoid opening and closing doors, you’ll handle germy money, and along the way, you may pick up the virus on your hands. Wash your hands throughout the day, and certainly every time you go out to a public place.
Carry antiseptic wipes in your pocket and use them throughout the day. Consumer Reports® recommends an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that’s at least 60% alcohol.2
3. Keep your hands away from your face. Flu virus easily enters the body through nasal passages or the throat, so nervously fidgeting around your nose or mouth is an open invitation for an invasion of flu bugs. Think about common hand movements and try to keep germs away from two key entry points – your mouth and nose.
4. Feed your body to fight the flu. A well-nourished body is better prepared to fight off flu germs. Experts suggest foods that improve the likelihood that the flu will pass you by this season, including:
· Foods high in protein like lean meats, seafood, nuts and soy products;
· Lots of Vitamin A, found in cantaloupe, broccoli, carrots, sweet red peppers and other vegetables;
· Vitamin C, found in citrus fruits, strawberries, tomato juice and other tasty foods;
· Zinc, a mineral that helps fight both colds and flu, is found in yogurt, cashew nuts, pork chops, and in many multivitamin supplements;
· Green tea, which provides high levels of anti-oxidants. Their anti-viral powers may help keep you healthier when the flu bug is around.
5. Get the flu facts. Know what you and your family are up against. Discover the latest information on this year’s flu season. The information is free at The Center for Disease Control website.3 Know the enemy. It could be a nasty little bug.
6. Use common sense. If you think you’re “coming down with something,” don’t go to the office and spread it around. Keep yourself away from others to prevent spreading germs to family, friends, co-workers and your neighbors at the supermarket. We’ll all appreciate it if you stay home when you have the flu.
The flu will hit. It does every winter, but you can be prepared to fight the flu with a vaccination, a healthy diet, simple sanitary steps, and the knowledge to improve your chances of enjoying a flu-free winter.
The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice. Any views expressed in this article may not necessarily be those of Nevada State Bank, a division of ZB, N.A.