It’s February here in the LowCountry and we are in the thick of it: FLU SEASON.  Poor souls all over Charleston and Mount Pleasant laid low with fever, hacking coughs and headaches.  We’ve already posted about avoiding the gym when you’re sick…but how do you actually avoid GETTING SICK?  Read some of our favorite expert tips on how to say well during this epidemic Flu Season!

Flu Tip #1: Pass On That Second Glass

Prevention Magazine explains in their article, 9 Ways Doctors And Nurses Avoid Getting Sick: “According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, studies have shown that excessive alcohol suppresses the immune system by reducing the ability of white blood cells to effectively kill bacteria—so you’d be wise to stick to the recommended one drink per day for women. Alcohol is also dehydrating and can disrupt your sleep—two more ways to lower your defenses. (Already sick? Romy Block, MD, an endocrinologist and assistant professor at Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, says that a single drink can lengthen the duration of the virus by a few days.)”

Flu Tip #2: Get Your Beauty Rest

Psychology Today explains, “That means at least 7 hours a night. Whether you stay up all night one night, or just consistently don’t get enough sleep (even just a few days in a row), sleep deprivation puts a serious damper on your immune system’s ability to fight off infection.”

Flu Tip #3: Get Your Workout ON!

We love this tip from the Today Show!  They explain that as long as you are NOT ALREADY SICK, working out is great for preventing illness: “Moderate exercise…can slash your risk of catching a cold by 27 percent, Korean researchers report. Working out switches on your immune response, possibly by sending a cascade of ‘natural killer cells’ to hunt the rhinovirus.”

Flu Tip #4: Keep Your Workouts CLEAN!

Here at DUFF we are all about keeping up exercise routines in the face of a Flu outbreak…but the trick is to WORK OUT SMART and WORK OUT CLEAN!  The experts at Health Magazine put it perfectly: “”Gyms are crawling with sweaty towels, dirty sneakers and other germy grossness. Instead of sitting directly on a mat or bench…place a clean towel on it first. Any equipment that [you] have to touch—like free weights or bicycle handlebars…clean first with antibacterial wipes.”  So wipe down BEFORE and AFTER you workout.  And be sure to wash your hands after your workout!

Flu Tip #5: Get Your Shot!

And finally, from the Holy Grail of wellness, the CDC recommends: “The best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated every year.” And what about people who got the flu IN SPITE of getting vaccinated?  Turns out the shot still helps: “Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations.” 

And it’s not too late!  If you haven’t already, the FDA explains that it’s still important to get your shot: “Haven’t had your flu shot yet? It’s not too late. And there are still good reasons to get one…when more people get vaccinated, less flu can spread through a community. It can take about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body.”  And since flu season can run as long as late March, you still have PLENTY of time to worry about staying flu free!