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Important Flu Alert! How to Avoid Getting the Flu This Year

November 7, 2016 By Dr. William S. Gruss, M.D.

The cold and flu season typically runs from October through April often seeing its peak in February. The following information can help you get through these months without getting sick.

The scary statistics

• Up to 20% of the US gets the flu each year*
• As many as 23,000 people die each year from flu and pneumonia related illnesses each year in the US*
• 90% of deaths caused by flu and pneumonia related illnesses in the US are people over the age of 65*
• Worldwide, there are 3-5 million severe cases each year and 250,000-500,000 deaths caused by influenza* What is the difference between a bad cold and the flu?

Cold symptoms may include coughing, sneezing, runny nose and congestion. Influenza symptoms include cough, sore throat, fever/chills, fatigue, stuffy nose, body aches and headache. The flu lasts longer, is much more debilitating and could have serious affects to ongoing health than a cold.

Who is most susceptible?

While everyone is at risk of catching a cold or flu, the most susceptible are people with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and those who have had a stroke; people who have cancer, HIV or AIDS; pregnant women; adults age 65 and older; children younger than 5, but especially those younger than 2 years old.

8 ways to avoid the flu

1. Wash your hands after meeting people, using the bathroom and touching door knobs.
2. Also, wash your hands after touching elevator buttons; door knobs (especially the ones that lead in and out of restrooms); escalator railings; plane, train and bus seats; pens at work, the bank or grocery store; exercise machines at the gym.
3. Meditate to reduce stress levels and inflammation
4. Exercise regularly
5. Stay 6-10 feet away from people who are sick
6. Get at least 7 hours sleep each night
7. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
8. Drink plenty of fluids even if you are not sick

What to do if you get sick:

• Drink plenty of fluids
• Wash your hands often
• Gargle, irrigate sinuses

Most importantly, stay home and rest. You can spread germs on any day before feeling sick and 5-7 days after.

How can you fight the flu?

The best ways to fight the flu is to strengthen your immunity by eating plenty of healthy foods such as: fresh fruits and fresh vegetables, especially brightly colored ones like red bell peppers, carrots, sweet potatoes, beets and dark leafy greens.

Also, almonds, salmon and mushrooms are good as well as herbs and spices like garlic, oregano, and ginger. Eat some dark chocolate and take a vitamin C supplement.

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