Fighting the flu

Trying to fight the flu this season? This winter has been one of the coldest winters we’ve seen in a long time. The piles of snow covering the streets and the unbearable wind chill do not help when it comes to fighting the common cold or the flu. If you weren’t lucky enough to get the flu vaccine this season you still may be able to steer clear of the virus. By keeping a close watch on your daily meals and maintaining a well-balanced diet full of rich fruits and vegetables, low-fat proteins and complex carbohydrates you can fight for your health this season.
 
Although there is no cure for the flu and, unfortunately, no quick medication that your doctor can prescribe, there are ways to speed up the process of regaining your health. It’s important to get lots of rest and drink lots of fluids while you are fighting the flu. There are some remedies that you can try at home to help ease the discomfort of a sore throat. One preventative measure that can help an existing cold or flu is by taking vitamin C pills. Although studies proving that Vitamin C helps to fight the flu have been fairly inconsistent, Vitamin C does help keep the body healthy and strong. Other remedies include gargling with salt water, which is an old trick that helps to moisturize your throat and ease the pain. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water and gargle for thirty seconds. In addition, sucking on cough drops, or lemon drops, will soothe any irritated tissue in the back of your throat. You can also sip on some hot tea with honey. The honey coats your throat and the hot tea will soothe your body. Humidifiers can sometimes be a great way to help a sore throat because they add moisture back into the cold, dry, wintry air.
 

When trying to avoid getting sick this winter don’t forget the simple common-sense ways to protect your health. Make sure to wash your hands frequently and use plenty of antibacterial soaps. In addition, it’s important to maintain your stress levels. It is easy to lose sleep, along with your sanity, during midterms and finals week; however high stress levels can lower your immune system making you more susceptible to sicknesses.
 
If you’re someone who catches the flu each year, it would be in your best interest to get the flu shot if you haven’t already. A flu vaccination is your best chance at warding off the flu. It has a 60% to 70% success rate and the efficiency is even higher against more serious infections and hospitalizations. The most common side effect of the vaccine include soreness at the site of the vaccination. Some people may experience a slight fever, tiredness or muscle aches about 12 hours after getting the shot. It takes anywhere between a few days to a few weeks before your body begins to develop immunity from the vaccine. It’s also important to note that the vaccine itself will not cause the flu; however, you are still susceptible to the illness shortly after getting the vaccination.