As the infection rate is already sitting around 7.7 percent in 2018, America is in the peak flu season. Although most of the epidemic has found its way down south and along the western coast, that does not necessarily mean New England is unaffected by it. For where there is life, the flu finds its way to a new host. The good news is: there is not much to fear if you take the proper precautions. here are ways to prevent the spread of it, and numerous ways to make sure you stay clear of it.

Just as any other disease, the first thing to realize is that you must maintain a healthy diet. If you are eating healthy foods on a regular basis, you are providing the nutrients for your immune system to work properly. Invest a few minutes into making some changes to your diet. This also includes staying on a strong sleeping schedule, as well as not skipping any meals. Do not deprive yourself of proper nutrition and well-being, especially now that this is peak flu season. When you miss out on your beauty sleep, you are in a way weakening your body’s ability to fend off disease and other infections. And now that it is February, what better time to change your diet for spring break and summer vacation? Junk food is going out of style anyways. Make the change today.

Countless amounts of kids, teenagers, and adults seem to overlook the fact that washing your hands is something to take care with. For some, this is unheard of. To prevent yourself from developing even mild symptoms of the flu, take thirty seconds to wash your hands with soap and water. By washing your hands, you are removing the germs that fester on your skin throughout the day. If you could care less, and then you go and touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, you are allowing those germs free passage into your body. By washing your hands with soap and water, you also will prevent your germs from spreading to other people. This is obvious information, yet by doing so you can prevent yourself from infection. Take the time to stay clean.

As spring is somewhat around the corner, pollen levels are going to increase, and with that, comes allergy season. When you sneeze, cover your mouth. However, never hold in a sneeze! By doing so, you could very well cause damage to your diaphragm, weaken blood vessels, and even cause an ear infection. Let it all out. Don’t be afraid by how loud or obnoxious your sneezes are. Your health should always come first before other people’s judgments. You can simply keep a packet of tissues with you and sneeze into those. Also, the same applies for coughing. By protecting your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing, you will avoid the possibility of spreading the sickness to those around you. And of course, it’s common courtesy.

If you do happen to have the flu, stay home from work, school, and any other social events. The worst thing you can do is to overlook the fact that you can easily spread your sickness to others. Don’t jeopardize other people’s health for your own satisfaction of not missing a day or two of your job. Call in sick or let your professor know your situation. More than likely they will thank you for understanding the severity sickness can have on others and for preventing the spread by staying home.

If you do happen to be in contact with those who are sick, avoid close interaction. Your body is the decider of whether you get the flu or not. If you risk your health by placing yourself near an infectious person, you will not win the battle. The sick person likely understands your reason for keeping a safe distance away, and will not have any hard feelings.

A great idea is to carry around a container of Lysol wipes. You never know when you’ll need them. Everyone at the gym uses the same equipment. Wipe it down before and after use. Everyone in your house, apartment, or dorm is likely using the same toilet seats. Clean those bad boys! Take it a step further and wipe down your classroom and work desks before and after you use them. Hundreds of others may have sat there in the time you were not. Exercise your care for staying clean and germ free. Others will pick up some tips as well.

Do not use your cell phone or any other electronics in the bathroom. This is pretty self-explanatory. Chances are you are using your smartphone a majority of the day. There is no need to freely welcome germs onto it. If you make a call, you transfer all the germs to your ears and face, thus allowing the entrance of infection to your body. Additionally, clean all your electronic devices with a cleansing towel every morning and night if you can.

Lastly, if you have not gotten a flu shot yet, there are still numerous places to receive one. It does not hurt. As some may say it does not prevent the flu, well that is correct. Although it may not prevent it – seeing as your body is the ultimate determinant – it does alleviate the issue and give you more of a chance of fighting against it. If you have gotten the flu shot prior to getting the flu, you have a better chance in winning the battle.

This is a serious epidemic that is going around. The flu is no joke. If you believe you are immune to it, think again. There is every reason to stay healthy and clean. As the numbers soar beyond belief, do not allow yourself to be a part of those statistics. Think with your mind before all else. It is easy to forget to do all these things, but taking the time to stay clear of the flu is never going to hurt. Do yourself a long-term favor and stay clear of it.

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I radiate both internally and externally, an infinitude of passion for creative thought, an unending lifelong code of self and peer-improvement, and an idiosyncratic perspective and outlook on all things good, bad, and in between. I believe that when we are, one day, gone, all that will have mattered is what we did to change this world, for better or worse.