Influenza is an infectious disease that affects millions of people each year, especially during flu season, which usually runs from October to May. While for many people the flu is a temporary nuisance, for others it can have serious consequences, especially for high-risk groups such as the elderly, children and people with underlying medical conditions. Here, we share expert advice on preventing flu this season.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) agree that the most effective way to prevent influenza is to get vaccinated every year. Vaccines are updated each year to combat the strains expected to be most prevalent.
2. Hand Hygiene
Infectious disease expert Dr. Juan Perez stressed the importance of hand hygiene. “Washing your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is critical. If soap and water are not available, using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) is a good alternative.”
3. Avoid close contact
Epidemiologist Dr. Maria Gonzalez recommends avoiding close contact with sick people and maintaining social distancing. “Influenza spreads mainly through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Maintaining a safe distance is essential.”
4. Use of masks
During the flu season, the use of masks is an effective measure. Pulmonologist Dr. Carlos Fernandez suggested: “Masks can help block respiratory droplets, thereby reducing the possibility of infection. It is especially important in closed and crowded places.”
5. Nutrition and Hydration
Nutritionist Clara Rodriguez recommends maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables to boost your immune system. “Vitamin C in citrus fruits and peppers and vitamin E in nuts and seeds are critical for immune health,” he says. Also, staying hydrated is crucial.
6. Get plenty of rest
Several studies support the relationship between sleep and immune function. According to sleep medicine expert Dr. Ana Sánchez, “getting seven to nine hours of sleep a night is essential for the body to rest and strengthen its defenses.”
7. Avoid touching your face
Preventive medicine expert Dr. Luis Ortega warned of the risks of touching the face, especially the eyes, nose and mouth. “Hands frequently touch surfaces that may be contaminated. Avoiding touching our faces reduces the likelihood of viruses entering our bodies.”
8. Disinfect surfaces frequently
Regular cleaning of frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs and mobile phones, is critical. “Using enough disinfectants and keeping the environment clean goes a long way toward prevention,” said public health expert Dr. Isabel Martin.
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace professional medical advice.