How do we really prevent ourselves from getting influenza during flu season? What can you do to add a simple defense against getting sick? For some, staying indoors and away from other people seems to do the trick.
However, there are many additional ways that you can prevent a case of the flu.
The CDC estimates that 39,000 to 56,000 cases of the flu occurred this past year, with a similar number of cases reported every year. If you think there are no ways to prevent yourself from getting sick, think again.
Keeping influenza at bay begins with a healthy, strong immune system that is built to fight off invading pathogens like the flu. But how do we build up our immune systems first? You might know the common ways, such as a nutritious diet and plentiful sleep. But did you know that humidifiers can play a big role in keeping you feeling well and flu-free?
Here are some helpful strategies to use during flu season to ensure a health-minded, sniffle free season.
How Can Humidifiers Help?
Humidity can be a great defense against the flu. The flu is known to thrive in cold, dry climates, which is why it usually strikes in the winter. Humidifiers add humidity to your household, helping to break up mucus, keep nasal passageways hydrated, clear congestion, and are a great way to ensure overall wellness.
Dr. Mayank Shukla, a pulmonologist in New York, explains that “over time, low humidity can cause the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract to become dry and inflamed, stopping it from working properly. Consequently, your risk of catching colds, the flu, and other viruses increases.”
If you live in a dry climate, a humidifier is an essential tool to keep your respiratory tract functioning properly.
In any climate, air conditioning works as a dehumidifier and will dry out the air in your home. A humidifier can make up for this by adding humidity to your home while allowing it to be cool by air conditioning.
Adding a humidifier to a room may also help bring some relief for symptoms such as coughing and respiratory irritation. It can also aid those who suffer from asthma. Luckily, Everlasting Comfort carries the Ultrasonic Cool Mist 6L Humidifier, and it can be shipped straight to your door. Available in black and white, this humidifier has a 2-year warranty as well as a 30-day money back policy.
Studies show that adding a humidifier to your home can be an extra measure to guard against unwanted bugs. A professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine informs that “while moderate humidity may not directly affect the flu virus itself, it does make virus particles heavier and faster to fall out of the air after a sick person has breathed, coughed, or sneezed them into a room.”
Research suggests that humidity has an effect on flu transmission. According to studies done, only 14 percent of flu particles are able to infect in higher humidity environments than in dry ones. It is said that at low humidity levels approx 75% of flu particles were able to infect.
The tank holds 6L and provides mist for 50+ hours, making this the easiest flu prevention tool to keep around the house during flu season. Not only will it provide humidity, but you can add essential oils directly into the humidifier for a refreshing scent, too!
Aromatherapy, while not fully tested and understood, has proven to have positive effects on many people. Lavender oil is known as a calming, relaxing oil that can be great for relieving stress. Peppermint oil has a cooling, refreshing effect and is widely used to enhance mental alertness. Eucalyptus oil would fit in perfectly with flu-prevention, as it has been used to soothe the airways.
As you can see, adding a humidifier to your home may help reduce the likelihood of you and your family contracting the flu this year. For smaller areas, an essential oil diffuser also puts off humidity, though at a much, much lower rate.
How to Prevent the Flu
Preventing sickness starts with building up your immune system and taking care of what’s going on on a cellular level. Officials at Harvard Health suggest these tips to help prevent contracting influenza: don’t smoke, maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, get adequate sleep, minimize stress, and wash hands frequently.
Flu prevention can also be supported by adding immune-boosting foods into your diet like broccoli, ginger, citrus fruits, bell peppers, spinach, and blueberries, to up your vitamin C and antioxidants to help fight free radicals. Boosting the immune system is a good preventative measure when it comes to the flu and keeping all other invaders at bay.
It is recommended that you also get plenty of sleep if you are worried about getting sick. The Sleep Foundation recommends that “without sufficient sleep, your body makes fewer cytokines, a type of protein that targets infection and inflammation, effectively creating an immune response.” Sleep is essential in flu prevention and overall wellness, and can often be overlooked.
If you have trouble sleeping, you may benefit from the aid of memory foam pillows. A memory foam knee pillow can provide the support and comfort you need for a good night’s sleep. If you frequently wake up with knee, hip, back, or joint pain, it might be because you’re sleeping on your side with poor posture. This knee pillow fixes that issue easily, leaving you feeling refreshed and pain-free in the morning.
Others suggest flu prevention means avoiding large crowds during flu season when you are likely to contact it most. Being in large crowds increases your chances of getting sick as you never know what kind of germs may be present in others.
Clean and disinfect surfaces in all areas of the house to keep a sanitized, healthy home. Pathogens can be transferred from surfaces and even the air around you. Cleaning and disinfecting ensure a sterile environment to keep germs from spreading.
You can also wear a cloth or hospital mask to prevent yourself from contracting influenza while out in public places. This can ensure pathogens don’t enter your airways. Gloves are also a preventative suggestion when it comes to avoiding the flu. Wear a pair of gloves during flu season to prevent getting the flu from the spread of germs at places like the grocery store, the mall, the park, school, and other public centers.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth to prevent the spread of germs. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that the spread of germs is often accelerated by touching contaminated surfaces. This is why it is recommended to not touch your face so that you aren’t giving yourself a germ high five right in the kisser. If you can avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, this will reduce your chances of getting the flu.
It is also recommended by the CDC to get a flu shot during flu season to reduce your chances of getting influenza, and to better equip your body to fight it if you do. You can typically get a flu shot from your local grocer or pharmacy, or ask your doctor to find out where you should get vaccinated.
There is some evidence that people who smoke get the flu more often than those who choose not to. Smoking may increase your susceptibility to infections and illnesses such as pneumonia, and flu according to BetterHealth. Reducing smoking can help speed up recovery time and promote influenza prevention in the future.
If you are concerned for yourself, or a loved one contracting the flu this season, try to combat it with a holistic approach like a humidifier to stop the spread of flu particles in your home and boost your overall respiratory health.
You can also take preventative steps like strengthening your immune system through foods, getting a vaccine, proper hygiene, and avoiding crowds.
The CDC suggests wearing gloves in public places during the flu season to prevent the spread of germs, and to keep you safe from contaminated surfaces. Wearing a face covering or mask may also prove to be a preventative way to avoid getting influenza.
Be sure to keep a sterile, disinfected environment for you and your loved ones, especially during flu season, and wash hands often. There is a wide variety of selections available at your local stores such as cleaners, disinfectant wipes, and more.
If you are unsure where to begin, try stocking up your fridge and pantry with immune-boosting foods to ensure a nutritious diet with antioxidant-rich ingredients that are high in Vitamin C. Leafy green vegetables, whole grains, and citrus are key when it comes to an immune-boosting defense against viruses and illness.
There are many ways to prevent yourself from getting the flu this season, made even easier by Everlasting Comfort. When combating the flu and the spread of viruses, refer to our helpful strategies that may just keep you healthy all winter long!