Winter’s coming…time to prepare. We’re not talking snow tires, skate sharpening, furnace checks or holiday plans. We’re talking flu season. No matter how healthy you feel or lucky you’ve been in the past, everyone needs a flu-fighting plan. The bug can take you down for the count and sideline you for weeks. Now is the time to think about how you’ll stay in top form.
Here’s our take on what to do: a few reminders about healthy habits for everyone, and one suggestion you can enjoy customizing to suit yourself.
1. Get the flu shot. It’s the best line of defense.
“No time” is no excuse. Think of the time wasted when feeling lousy takes you out of action for days. Drugstores (pick your favourite), clinics and doctors everywhere offer the vaccine free. If you’re skeptical whether the shot works, here’s the thing. While Health Canada acknowledges it’s not 100 per cent guaranteed, getting the shot improves your odds against getting the flu and even if you do, helps tame the virus and curb how sick you could otherwise be.
The vaccine is matched to this year’s flu strains but the duration and discomfort of any strain you catch are less severe if you’ve had the shot.
And please, “I don’t like needles” doesn’t even count as an excuse. You probably don’t like fever, aches, chills and digestive distress much either. Don’t put it off. The flu shot takes a couple of weeks to fully kick in. Get yours now.
2. Health and hygiene habits. You know you need reminding.
Important in any season, especially winter: Eat healthy (lots of fruits and vegetables). Drink lots of water (it helps clear the body’s detox pathways). Make sure you get enough sleep (seven to eight hours a night if you can. If not, catch a nap). A tired body is a body at risk of getting sick. Get lots of exercise. You don’t have to be a gym rat. A half hour walk, a few stretches or a game with the kids are all good activities. Exercise in fresh air is especially healthy.
Wash your hands thoroughly, 15 seconds, soap and water, many times a day, especially after you touch something handled by others, or shake hands. The virus survives on surfaces such as doorknobs and countertops up to 48 hours. It’s a very resilient bug.
3. Take the day off. It will do wonders for your immune system.
This is the flu-fighting tactic we all love, because we can apply it in whatever way appeals. Working and playing too hard lead to exhaustion. In the leadup to the holidays and year-end, the long list of work projects, chores and social commitments often leaves no time to breathe and de-stress.
Here’s the prescription: Take an afternoon, an evening, even a lunch hour if that’s all you can manage, to change pace. Spend time doing something you enjoy – a hobby, coffee with a good friend or a TV binge on your own. Sounds too simple? Health experts tell us “downtime” is one of the best things we can do for physical and mental health. So pick your pleasure and slow down, as often as you can. No worry. No guilt. Just a great boost to your immune system.
These flu-fighting tips are from Health Plus, our OAHI Member Insurance Plan.Excellent health, dental, drug and travel health coverage at lower rates. Designed for business owners, contract workers and people who are self-employed. Only available from our broker Loran Insurance Limited.