Now that flu season is in full bloom with sniffles and coughs abound, it’s time to take those precautions against catching the nasty disease.
One of the most important steps toward avoiding the flu is getting the flu vaccine. The flu vaccine protects against three of the most common flu viruses, including the H1N1 virus. Since flu viruses evolve rapidly, it is important to get the flu shot every year to get maximal protection against this year’s flu viruses. There is also the option of getting the nasal-spray flu vaccine if you prefer not to get a shot!
Even if you missed Princeton’s FluFest in October, students, faculty and staff can still get a free flu shot at University Health Services. Students should call 258-3141 or log onto www.princeton.edu/MyUHS for an appointment. You can also get a flu shot from the CVS on Nassau Street—no appointment needed.
In terms of hygiene, there are a few simple habits that will protect you and others from the flu according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Make sure you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, the crook of your arm or shoulder when you cough or sneeze to prevent spreading the disease.
- Make sure you wash your hands using soap. Using hand sanitizer is also a good idea if access to soap and water is not feasible.
- You should avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth and spreading germs in that way.
Researchers at Appalachian State University have also found that exercising about 5 times a week helps you fight the flu by increasing blood flow and the movement of white blood cells, which detect and fight infections, around your body.
Sleeping is also an important factor in your susceptibility to the flu so make sure you aim for at least seven hours of sleep every night.
Lastly, hot beverages such as tea or soup are good ways of reducing symptoms of the flu. Herbal tea with honey in particular has been shown to be a great way to soothe a sore throat.
With busy schedules, exams, and the holidays coming up, make sure you have an enjoyable time by staying healthy!