Early flu season projections are in, and as the data shows, it’s about to be intense. At the start of November, almost 14,000 positive flu tests were reported in the U.S.—that’s over 12 times the number of positive flu tests around the same time back in 2019. If these high viral transmission rates are any indication, 2023 will be a record year for flu cases.
Of course, the flu vaccine is effective in protecting yourself and those around you from illness, but what if you’re starting to feel sick already? How can you boost immune function and recover as quickly as possible while doing your part to slow the spread of contagion? Since you asked, here are a few simple actions to help you survive this flu season.
Clean and Purify the Air in Your Home
When you’re sick with a viral infection such as the flu, breathing in airborne contaminants and pathogens can cause even more harm to an already weak immune system. Therefore, ensuring your home’s indoor airflow is purified is vital. It’ll help ease pressure on your lungs and sinuses while reducing your exposure to dust, germs, or other irritants. To ensure the healthiest air quality possible, schedule a professional deep cleaning of your vents, ducts, grills, and HVAC unit. This, in turn, will disinfect and sanitize the entire living space.
Build Up Your Intake of Healthy Fluids
Fever sweats, nasal drips, vomiting, and other common flu symptoms can cause major fluid loss or even dehydration. However, the body relies on fluid intake to eliminate toxins and fight off infection, so make sure to replenish those lost liquids as often as possible. Of course, water is the ideal choice. Still, you can also drink herbal teas (such as chamomile) to boost vitamin C, electrolytes, antioxidants, potassium, magnesium, and other essential nutrients. Broth counts as fluid as well if you feel like a warm, comforting bowl of soup.
Relieve Congestion with a Hot Shower
Mucus build-up is one of the most uncomfortable parts of having the flu. It constricts your throat, chest, and nasal passage. It inflames your sinuses, causing awful tension headaches. It makes breathing feel difficult, shallow, and painful. When you’re in the thick of flu congestion, a remedy can seem impossible to find, but fortunately, there is a solution. A hot, steamy shower helps moisturize those irritated membranes in your nose, throat, and lungs. This will soothe inflammation and open the sinus cavities so that you can exhale in relief.
Try to Eat Foods that Bolster Immunity
Eating tends to rank low on your list of priorities if you feel nauseous, but at least make an effort to nourish yourself whenever possible. Vitamins and minerals from wholesome, nutritious foods will fuel your immune function with the resilience and strength it needs to recover. Think lean proteins, fresh vegetables and fruits, fermented probiotics, or whole grains. Below are some of the best foods to consume for an immunity boost during flu season:
- For Vitamin C: citrus fruits and leafy greens
- For Beta-Carotene: root vegetables
- For Vitamin E: seeds, nuts, and avocado
- For Antioxidants: green or matcha tea
- For Vitamin D: eggs, salmon, tuna, and mushrooms
- For Probiotics: yogurt, kombucha, and pickles
- For Vitamin B: fortified cereal, bananas, and chickpeas
- For Zinc: garlic, poultry, and beans
Protect Yourself and Others as this Flu Season Kicks into Gear.
There’s no denying it: the flu is miserable—not to mention extremely contagious. But there are steps you can take to heal faster and limit the spread of germs to those around you. These simple but effective actions can help streamline recovery, but remember that it’s important to see a doctor if the symptoms continue or worsen over time.