In the blink of an eye, the flu season will be here once more. Although it is a very common disease, influenza should not be taken lightly — it’s something that can cause all sorts of complications that range from sinus infections to pneumonia. So when flu outbreaks are looming, it’s important to get yourself protected.

Fortunately, it is not that difficult to sidestep the flu season — it can pass without getting yourself infected by those who have the disease. What’s important is you arm yourself with the know-how to considerably lower your chances of ending up with a bout of influenza. Here are some of the best, according to experts:

Tip #1: Get the Flu Vaccination

Before the flu season strikes, flu vaccinations become available. It’s something that you can get at hospitals, clinics and even pharmacies. It is a good idea to get the shot early on as it usually takes a couple of weeks to take effect — you don’t want the flu season to arrive with the antibodies in your body still developing!

Tip #2: Wash Your Hands with Soap and Water

Never mind if your hands get dry — washing them a lot with soap and water can keep you from ending up with the flu. Just see to that you rub your soapy hands briskly for not less than 20 seconds. Try singing “Happy Birthday” to make sure that you really get rid of those microbes.

Tip #3: Slather on Hand Sanitizer

It’s not all the time that you have access to soap, and that’s why there should be a small bottle of hand sanitizer within your easy reach. The kinds that attach to bag straps are trendy — jump on the bandwagon to significantly lower your risk of flu. By the way, see to it that you opt for a hand sanitizer that’s alcohol-based.

Tip #4: Avoid Touching Your Face

It’s not just pimples that you can steer clear of by not touching your face, but also flu. Microbes responsible for the flu can live for up to 8 hours on doorknobs, tabletops and other objects with hard surfaces — you can easily get them into your body if they end up on your hands then you touch your eyes, mouth or nose!

Tip #5: Stay Away From Infected People

A person with influenza can easily leave you infected, too, when he or she comes too close to you. It’s for this reason why you should do your best to limit your contact with family and friends who are ill. Also, avoid sharing items with them! Experts say that someone with the flu is contagious for up to 2 weeks.

Tip #6: Keep Your Home Clean

Microbes that cause flu can thrive practically anywhere in your home — from your phone, cutting board to toilet. Make sure that you disinfect objects used or touched by someone with the flu, as well as tabletops, floors and other surfaces. Kitchen sponges can easily spread microbes, so disinfect them in the microwave or simply throw them away.

Tip #7: Defend Yourself with Paper Towels

When the flu season is here, paper towels can keep you from acquiring microbes in public places. Use them when opening doorknobs or taps. By the way, when you run into someone you know, refrain from shaking hands — it can be very hard to tell at times whether a person is contagious or not!

Tip #8: Boost Your Immune System

Last but not least, get your immune system strengthened. Manage stress in ways that work best for you and strive to get a good night’s sleep. Eat well-balanced meals and ensure that you consume plenty of foods rich in vitamin C and zinc, both of which help bolster your immune system.

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