HOUSTON -- We're dropping like flies! It seems as though everyone is either fighting the flu or praying not to get it. But there are some basic habits that could put you at risk for the flu.
Annie Robertson a nurse practitioner with American Family Care joined CW39's Maggie Flecknoe to talk more about those habits along with some healthy ones.
5 Habits That Could Put You at Risk for the Flu:
- Working Out Too Much -Gyms are packed right now with people trying to make good on losing those extra holiday pounds. AFC doctors say regular exercise is good, but if you are over-exerting yourself and not drinking enough water you could weaken your immune system, opening yourself up to possible infection.
- Going Low Carb -Lots of people are adjusting their diets for 2018. Ditching bread and certain fruits is at the center of several low carb diets, but whole grains are good for your gut during flu season. Rice, oats and buckwheat can build healthy bacteria in your stomach. Research by the American Physiological Society concluded a substance found in fruit and vegetables called quercetin reduced the likelihood of flu in mice.
- Doing It All – If you are starting to feel sick, don't try to be a superhero and do it all. No one wants to be exposed to your germs. Stay home from either work or school and don't even run errands like to the drug store to get medicine. When you have a fever, you should always stay home at least 24 hours AFTER your fever is gone.
- Puffing on the Vape Pen - The growing popularity of electronic cigarettes could make you more at risk of picking up flu germs. A study found the vapors can trigger substantial inflammation in the lungs making them more likely to get infected by bacteria or viruses like the flu.
- Stressing Out - You’re back at work or school with a mountain of work facing new, stressful challenges. When you let stress take over, you are more susceptible to getting sick. A study by Carnegie Mellon University found long-term stress could weaken someone's ability to fight infection.
AFC physicians advise getting the flu shot and taking a few everyday preventive measures to boost your chances of avoiding the flu.
5 Habits That Help You Prevent The Flu
- Avoid sharing pens.Whether at work or signing a credit card receipt at a store, never pick up a public pen because they’re covered with other people’s germs. Keep a pen handy for any situation that could pop up.
- Knuckle it. When using a debit card machine, get into the habit of punching in your card pin with a knuckle instead of a fingertip. This way if you rub your eye or mouth with your fingertip, you’re not transferring germs.
- Play it safe at the pump. Drivers must get gas for their vehicles no matter what, sick or not. Protect yourself at the pump, grab a paper towel before picking up the gas nozzle. You can also use the paper towel as a barrier when punching in your debit/credit card info.
- Shake and Wash. People are more germ-conscious these days so avoiding a handshake is not as rude as once thought, especially during flu season. If you must do it, wash or sanitize with your hands immediately.
- Hands off, please! You are constantly using either your phone or computer tablet to show friends and coworkers pictures or videos. This means other people are putting their germs on something you are constantly touching. Get into the habit of wiping your phone down with a disinfecting wipe to cut down on spreading germs. OR just text your friends photos and videos!