Catching influenza can be anything from a mild inconvenience to a thorough disaster depending on its severity and your own condition. Whether it’s because you can’t afford time off work or you just need to stay on form, we all want to prevent the flu. And, luckily, there are a few things we can do to reduce our chances of catching the virus.

The following healthy habits should boost your immune system, keep flu at bay and, if you think you’re already starting to get sick, even help with a speedy recovery.

Wash Your Hands

You’ve heard it a million times before: wash your hands. Or, if soap and water aren’t available, keep a bottle of hand sanitizer on hand (no pun intended!).

In order to prevent you from catching the flu, it is essential that you regularly wash your hands and remove the germs that build up on their surface. If you’re going to follow any of the tips on this list, make sure you take this one seriously.

Get Enough Sleep

If you want to ensure your body is ready to battle off any harmful germs that could lead to the flu, you need to make sure it has plenty of energy.

This, along with the fact that getting enough rest boosts the immune system, is why another important flu prevention tip is to get good quality sleep every night. If you have trouble sleeping, consider upgrading to a new mattress from the top rated mattress brands this year.

Avoid Crowds

When flu season comes around, one preventative measure is trying to stay indoors and away from big crowds as much as possible. This way, you’re not putting yourself in a situation with at least one other person with the flu.

Working from home (if you’re lucky enough to have that option) when you’ve heard there’s something going around the office is also a great preventative measure.

Drink Plenty of Water

Did you know that the amount of water you drink can actually have a huge impact on your vulnerability to catch colds and the flu?

Drinking plenty of water helps to flush out any toxins that you might pick up that could otherwise lead you to develop the flu. It is also important to keep your body hydrated so that it is in good condition to fight off anything you do catch.

Eat Nutritious Food

Just like keeping your body hydrated, eating a nutritious diet is important in ensuring you are strong enough to defeat any germs that come into contact with your body.

Make sure you eat plenty of protein, whether this is from meat or plant-based sources, as well as lots of fruit and vegetables.

Exercise Regularly

If you are fit and strong, the flu will have a hard time breaking through your immune system, so in addition to eating well, it is important that you also exercise regularly.

While those who exercise regularly have a better chance of fighting off the flu, you should be careful not to push yourself too hard – you’ll need to maintain some energy in case you do come into contact with somebody sick.

Don’t Kiss the Sick

Speaking of which, if a loved one does happen to get the flu, it can be hard to avoid having some level of contact with them. However, you should try your best to avoid kissing your partner if they are sick because all of your other efforts will be wasted.

If you and your family share a toothbrush holder and somebody does catch the flu, make sure you separate their brush from everyone else’s so it doesn’t touch the others in the pot.

Trying out these flu protection tips will not only lessen your chances of catching the virus but also help your body fight it off if you do end up getting sick.

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