Have you heard? Unless you don’t watch or read the news, this season there’s a highly contagious, severe strain (possible H3N2) of flu going around. The most severe in about 10 years. From what I read, for those who live in highly populated areas, like us here in New York City, it’s almost inevitable that you will get sick. If you live in a more remote area where your contact with large groups of people is not as frequent, you may have a better chance of coming out unscathed.
Coming off my post from yesterday on Park Slope Stoop regarding staying well and energetic during the flu season, here are a few tips to keep the flu from “flu-ing” up your life this winter. Hope they help and good luck! From the news reports, it seems like it’s every man/woman for themselves!
- Wash your hands several times per day and always carry sanitizer when you can’t find a sink and soap
- Get a flu shot (full disclosure – I have not gotten a flu shot yet, but I will…epic fail right now ;))
- Boost your intake of fruits and vegetables
- Get some vitamin D – yes, get some sun exposure in the middle of winter
- Avoid crowds and public places
- If you’re sick – STAY HOME
- Keep your home humid – 40-60% relative humidity (apparently, the flu thrives in dry conditions – so dig out the humidifiers, they may help reduce the risk of airborne and surface viruses)
- Get rest, even if you’re not sick – it’s the winter, give yourself an excuse to hibernate a little
Here’s a little dorky tid-bit of information I learned this past semester in Microbiology: The H’s and N’s in naming the flu viruses stand for hemagglutinin and neuraminidase. They’re surface proteins (little pointers) that stick out of the envelope (what encapsulates the flu virus) and are the suckers responsible for attaching to our cells so the flu virus can infiltrate and produce more flu viruses. There are 13 different types of hemagglutinin and 9 neuraminidase, hence H1N1 or H3N2 (which could be the one hitting hard right now).
Image from http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu