Staying Healthy And Surviving The Flu Season
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We are currently in a worldwide epidemic of influenza. I work as a GP in London, and this flu season I’ve seen an unprecedented number of flu cases, and of young, fit people feeling very unwell with it.
Pregnant women are more at risk of the complications due to changes in their immune system. Complications include bronchitis and pneumonia, but a fever during early pregnancy can result in birth defects.
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There are a number of measures you can take to reduce your risk of getting sick this flu season.
One of the most important elements of preventing the spread of airborne infections is hygiene. Influenza is spread via droplets, expelled during coughing and sneezing. You can’t stop strangers from spreading their germs but making sure you regularly wash your hands can help. If anybody in your household has a virus, encourage them to dispose of used tissues immediately and then wash their hands.
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Maintaining a good nutritional intake may also help to stave off infections, and adequate protein intake will allow you to sufficiently produce antibodies needed to fight infection. There is limited evidence as to whether certain nutrients of foods can ‘boost’ our immune systems, but taking a good range of vitamins, and micronutrients such as iron and zinc will help to keep you generally well this flu season. Stress and reduced sleep could also make you more susceptible to infections, so finding ways to relax and manage your stress levels for your wellbeing, and taking an adequate amount of sleep helps too.
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What if you do catch flu? Most healthy people get over flu with rest, plenty of fluids, and of medications; paracetamol and ibuprofen can be bought in liquid form, which doesn’t contain gelatine or lactose. Those who are at risk of complications may need to see a doctor who will consider prescribing antivirals. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely these medications will be vegan, but in high-risk people, flu can be a killer disease, but it can be prevented.
How are you trying to stay healthy this flu season? Let us know in the comments.
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