The winter is quickly approaching, which means it is almost time for the holidays. Unfortunately, this upcoming winter is also flu season. It is important to protect yourself and others from catching the flu this year. The flu is contagious, meaning that it spreads easily, such as through water drops expelled from coughs or sneezes. 

The influenza virus can also collect on common surfaces, such as door handles and keyboards. The flu thrives in the winter as the weather is cold and people often congregate inside, thus making it easier for germs to travel. With the following tips to fight off and prevent the flu, it is easy to stay healthy this winter.

The first step towards fighting off the flu is receiving a yearly vaccination. Insurance covers flu shots, and even if someone does not have insurance, the vaccine is not expensive. I get vaccinated every year for influenza. This easy first step can prevent the spread and keep people healthy for the holidays. 

Another simple way to prevent the flu is by staying home when sick and avoiding others if they have the flu. It can be annoying to take time off school or work to stay home, but those actions are critical for ensuring that people are safe from the flu. 

Additionally, cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. If you have to travel outside for an essential trip, wear a surgical mask to protect others. The flu’s number one spreader is coughing. It is also passed to others through sneezing and unclean hands. A good practice for staying healthy is washing your hands. If you are unable to clean your hands, bring a bottle of alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you.

Other ways to prevent the flu, including practicing good health habits. Be sure to frequently clean surfaces at work or home. It is important to keep your body in the best shape possible for your immune system to fight off intrusive germs. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage any additional stress, drink lots of water, eat healthy foods, and take Vitamin C. 

These are a few ways to help keep yourself and others healthy this flu season. It is important to be proactive and take action to prevent yourself from getting the flu.