From Our Readers The Flu Is Trying to Kill Us: 5 Easy Ways to Fight Back From Our Readers

Maybe it’s the fact that I worked for two years in a hospital. Or taught for three years in a preschool. Or grew up hearing about all the insects and arachnids that could kill me in 6 seconds flat (Australian childhood represent!).

Whatever the reason, I’m kind of a hypochondriac.

But a really, really healthy one, I swear.

All of this makes me the perfect person to talk about this “flu epidemic”* that we seem to be having in the United States. The flu has really been doing a number this year. For one thing, 47 states have report a record-breaking number of cases. New York and Massachusetts have declared public states of emergency, and California’s numbers keep growing.

So, what can we do about it?

It’s just basic grade school common sense, but apparently (according to the people I ride public transit with), much of what we were taught as five year olds has been lost.

Here are some tips for avoiding the flu this season:

1) Get Vaccinated.

Although there is a shortage in some states, most still have the vaccine. I agree that whether or not you get the shot is totally your prerogative. But just know it’s available, it’s cheap and there’s no evidence that it will do you harm.

2) Wash Your Hands.

I know…super, ridiculously obvious. Still, wash them when you come in from outside, and before you eat anything (as well as any other time when you definitely better already be washing them).

3) Catch Your Cough.

This means don’t cough into your hands. When you have to cough, catch it with the crook of your elbow. (Okay, if you’re already coughing it’s possible you’re already sick with something. But protecting others is just good manners!).

4) Eat.

Not whatever you want! (I mean, yeah, free will and all, but still don’t take this as an invitation to eat twelve chocolate chip cookies and then claim I told you would protect you from the flu). Try to eat plenty of fruits and veggies and protein (whatever your source), so that your body has strong defenses.

5) Drink a lot.

Of water, that is. Alcohol will just dehydrate you and if you’re totally dehydrated you’re more susceptible to getting sick.

*I agree that this flu season has been horrendous, but this isn’t 1918 and we’re not in the middle of Downton Abbey. I think that show may have ruined the word “epidemic” for me, because I now have an irrational fear of being perfectly fine and then dropping dead 10 to 15 minutes later. Oh, don’t even try to tell me I’m the only one. Lavinia happened people.

By Emma Thomas

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