The following article is a guest post.

While flu season peaks between December and February, it actually begins as early as late October. So taking preventative steps now for avoiding a flu infection is a must.

Don’t miss these 7 top tips on flu prevention:

1. Know the Symptoms.

Some symptoms of the flu mirror seasonal allergies. These are runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, headache, and cough. However, it’s important to note that the influenza virus will always cause a fever while allergies won’t.

Fever is one of the body’s immune responses to attacking flu pathogens with the hopes of creating a hostile environment in which to eliminate the virus. The best oral digital thermometer is a must for flu season, giving you quick and accurate temperature monitoring to protect against illness.

The flu will also cause fatigue, chills, and in some cases, vomiting or diarrhea. As white blood cells are diverted from joints and muscles to fight the virus as well, mild to extreme muscle and body aches will occur. 

2. Track Outbreaks.

It used to be a guessing game where and when flu outbreaks would occur. Now, developments in technology have created new avenues for spreading awareness.

Apps like FluView from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention detail which influenza strains are most likely to spread and where outbreaks are occurring in relation to where you live.

SickWeather is another app for tracking flu spread. It instead relies on aggregated social media data to display sick zones for you to avoid. 

3. Fortify Your Immune System.

Can you ever really boost your immune system to ward off infection? Absolutely.

Simply put, being worn down, experiencing chronic stress, eating a poor diet, not exercising and missing sleep can all make you more susceptible to getting sick.

Fortifying your immune system instead with the vitamins and minerals it needs to quickly man the defenses when it’s time to fight off a virus.

Stock up on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and healthy fats this fall and winter for flu prevention. Make sure to exercise for at least 30 minutes a day. Consider taking a multivitamin to supplement missed nutrition as well. And add on a half hour to an hour of extra sleep each night to give you body extra time to repair and protect itself.

4. Boost Lymphatic Flow.

How Yoga Can Help You Get Better Sleep at Night

Reinforcing your body’s ability to filter out toxins and quickly eliminate infectious pathogens may be aided by a boost in lymphatic flow. The lymphatic system helps to identify foreign germs like viruses, bacteria, or fungi, and then trigger the immune system to attack and eliminate them. Thus helping with flu prevention.

Boost lymphatic flow with simple steps like:

  • dry brushing,
  • getting a lymphatic massage,
  • drinking lots of water,
  • practicing yoga,
  • hanging upside down,
  • or even jumping on a trampoline.

5. Get the Flu Vaccine.

The flu virus can infect anyone, even the healthiest most active people. It’s critical to get the vaccine shot prior to a flu outbreak in your area. As it can actually take your body one to two weeks to build up the antibodies it needs to fight off an infection.

The nasal spray vaccine is no longer available for the 2017 season. Officials recommend everyone, from kids to seniors, get their flu shots. Check with your local pharmacy or grocery store to see where flu shots are available. Verify with your health insurance company about coverage. Some employers even reimburse employees for their flu shots, never hurts to ask!

6. Practice Good Hygiene.

Never is it more important than during flu season to practice all the proper flu prevention and hygiene techniques you learned as a kid.

  • Cough and sneeze into your elbow.
  • Use tissues and immediately throw them away.
  • Keep up with washing your hands regularly.
  • Go the extra mile by disinfecting commonly used surfaces in your home like doorknobs and faucets.
  • Be mindful of spending time around people who have a cold or the flu.

These types of airborne viruses only need a small particle of dust or a respiratory droplet to carry them into your system, that’s it. Protect yourself on the go carrying hand sanitizer in your car or bag. Avoid sharing cups with anyone, even friends or family.

7. Don’t Take the Flu for Granted.

While many healthy adults who contract the flu will recover within days to a couple weeks, there are a multitude of complications. These can exacerbate existing conditions and even be life-threatening. Including asthma attacks, pneumonia, and dehydration.

Older adults, people with chronic diseases, and children are especially at risk for flu complications. An estimated 12,000 to over 50,000 people may die from the flu or flu complications every year.

Don’t get caught off guard when it comes to recognizing symptoms and seeking immediate treatment for the flu. Early action is key to avoiding the flu and cold and staying healthy.