The dreaded flu season is upon us, which means it’s time to prepare the best defenses for yourself and your family. Affecting more than three million people per year, the flu is one of the most prevalent illnesses, right up there with the common cold. They share similar symptoms, and may sometimes be mistaken for each other, but the flu (or influenza virus) can lead to extremely dangerous complications.


Flu symptoms include fatigue, body aches, cough, sore throat, and more. The flu spreads incredibly fast, mostly from air contaminated with the virus through sneezing and coughing. The onset of flu symptoms can range anywhere from one to four days, and you can spread it without even knowing that you’ve contracted it. In flu season, taking preventative steps before you’ve fallen ill is the best course of action, though there are some practices that can ease the burden of the illness after it’s contracted. Here are five tips on beating the flu this season:


  • Flu shots. You’ve likely seen signs for flu shots in your local pharmacy, as every year new flu vaccines are created to help protect against the virus. The flu virus is constantly adapting to treatment methods, so medical professionals must always take measures to fight its new forms. The CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine every year as the most important step in staying healthy during flu season.


  • Be on the defensive. Successfully defending against the flu involves many different, small steps that one can take daily to ward off the virus. Washing your hands, staying home if you’ve recently been exposed to the virus, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough, and avoiding touching your face are all ways to prevent the spread of germs. Try to stay away from sick people as much as possible, too. The CDC also has a handy outline of daily preventative actions that can help keep the flu at bay.


  • Take supplements and herbal remedies. Supplements like vitamin C or zinc have been known to boost the immune system and help fight off illnesses. Herbal remedies like ginger or garlic are also helpful at eliminating harmful substances from the body. Raw garlic, when crushed, contains the chemical allicin, which helps to fight disease. For children, eating chopped raw garlic may seem very unappetizing, so mixing a clove of chopped garlic with a spoonful of honey can mask the unpleasant flavor.


  • Rest! Our bodies are already equipped to fight illnesses. If we try to function as usual when we’re sick, we are diminishing the attention our body can spend on making us healthy again. If you get the flu, spending a few days just to rest and let your body do its job are absolutely vital. If your kids are sick, make sure they stay home from school. This way, you also reduce their chances of spreading the virus to their friends and classmates.


  • Stay hydrated. Nearly every function in our bodies requires water. Like with rest, keeping your body hydrated allows it to perform its best and dedicate all its resources to fighting the flu virus. Because water is used to flush toxins out of the body, dehydration severely inhibits your body’s ability to get rid of any bad stuff. In addition to plain water, drinks like herbal teas are especially helpful at fighting illnesses. A cup of hot water with honey and lemon can soothe sore throats, and lemon helps to keep you feeling energized.


Flu season can be difficult to navigate, but with caution and an arsenal of healthy behaviors to fall back on, you can beat this troublesome virus. And if you want to make staying hydrated easier and more accessible than ever, residents of Monmouth County, Ocean County, Mercer County, Atlantic Cape May County, and Cumberland County can have fresh bottled spring water delivered right to their doors. To place an order, give us a call at 1-800-624-0081.