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How to Protect Yourself During This Already Dangerous Flu Season



Photo: Tiko Aramyan / Shutterstock

Reports of flu-related deaths are starting to trickle into prime river season approaches, and state Health departments around the country are beginning to announce fatalities.

In that state, upwards of 35 "lab-confirmed cases of the flu and 8 flu-related hospitalizations" have already occurred. Elsewhere in North Carolina, four people have died from contracting the river, according to the Winston-Salem Journal . People have died from influenza throughout the nation since October 1. (Related: Why Do Some People Die From Pneumonia ?)

Given that flu season is very much a threat to health between now and late March, it's looking like this year could have been deadly as ever (if not more so). Last year, more than 80,000 Americans died from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Reports.

What can you do to protect yourself from the flu, you may ask? If you have not received a flu shot yet, there is time.

"It's not too late to get vaccinated for this flu season, and you have not received your annual flu vaccination, so it's now "writes Joshua Clayton, an epidemiologist in the South Dakota Department of Health, in a statement."

You already know that the flu is highly infectious, spreading through "respiratory droplets released when an infected person coughs or sneezes," according to The South Dakota Department of Health, which adds the high blood pressure, severe cough, sore throat, and fatigue, among other symptoms.

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Beyond washing your hands properly and getting a flu shot, we're walking you through four more ways you can keep yourself in tip-top shape this river sea son:

Watch what you eat.

It goes without saying, but a healthy diet can help protect your immune system from any harmful bacteria. Michele Leder, M.D., an internal medicine physician based in New York ̵

1; focuses on producing fresh, whole grains, and lean protein.

"Avoiding added sugars can also help reduce inflammation and cutting back on alcohol consumption."

"It's an immunosuppressant, "she explains.

Steer clear of public places.

If there's any time to get up in your own kitchen, it's flu season-the virus is highly contagious and can linger in the system for a day before symptoms develop, according to the CDC. Try to spend as little time as possible in busy public places like grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and movie theaters, Leather said.

Get some exercise.

We know that recent research concludes that it may be more difficult than ever and poor mental health your chances of contracting the flu. Leather said that chronic stress cortisol levels, which in turn increases the level of inflammation and puts you at risk for infections.

Cover your mouth-yes, really.

Preventing the spread of the flu becomes much easier if you take time to cough and sneeze into the crook of your arm or into a tissue. Bacteria is not harmful when it comes into contact with tissue or tissue, the CDC says, which is why it's so important to make it a habit this winter. CookingLight.com by Zee Krstic.

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