We are lucky here in South Florida for many reasons, not the least of which is our fabulous, tropical weather. One thing we can’t escape is the onslaught of flu season which seems to set in and claim its victims everywhere around this time every year like clockwork.

The Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can be mild to very severe with symptoms that include fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, dry cough, sore throat and runny nose.  People with the flu may feel nauseous and have vomiting and diarrhea, although these symptoms are more common in children than adults. Flu can lead to pneumonia and other serious illnesses for people who are particularly vulnerable such as those with compromised immune systems.

November through March is Flu Season in the United States. While a flu shot is the best protection against the virus, there are several other ways to help avoid the flu:

  • Stay home if you are sick. That means the gym too! Working out while you are sick will cause more harm than good. Never even attempt to work out with a fever, body aches and chills. Rest and drink plenty of fluids.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash your hands often to avoid spreading germs.
  • Avoid touching your nose, mouth or eyes to help keep germs from entering your body.

It is especially important for people who fall into one of the following high- risk categories outlined by the Centers for Disease Control to get a flu shot:

  • Children age 6-59 months and their household contacts and out of home care givers.
  • Women who will be pregnant during the flu season.
  • People aged 50 or older.
  • People of any age who have certain chronic medical conditions.
  • People who care for anyone at high risk.
  • Health care workers.

Those at high risk should contact their primary care physicians to discuss where and when to get the flu shot.

Some Healthy Measures to Ward Off the “Bug”

  • Get lots of fresh air. Take fresh air breaks at work and invest in some leafy plants for your workplace. The air in the workplace and in closed- up planes can be especially toxic.
  • Get sufficient sleep to give your body time to repair, replenish, and detoxify itself.
  • Keep stress in check, as it can depress the immune system.
  • Don’t forget your workouts: daily exercise helps to boost your immune system.
  • Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to ensure hydration.
  • Eat lots of brightly colored veggies and fruits loaded with vitamin “C” to help keep your immune system strong.
  • Stay away from fast foods and sugary foods as these can drag your immune system down.