Avoiding Flu This Winter

With cold weather comes an influx of illnesses, such as the common cold and the flu. These are usually unpleasant but relatively benign illnesses. For HIV-positive people, the flu can be incredibly difficult to fight off. Complications such as pneumonia can arise if the illness isn’t effectively treated. It can even be fatal. This is why it’s necessary to take precautions to prevent contracting the flu every year.

 

The Flu Shot

 

One of the most effective methods of prevention is having an annual flu shot. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) and prevention recommends the flu shot instead of the nasal spray version. The flu shot uses a dead virus while the spray utilizes a weakened live virus and is only approved for healthy people in a particular age range. The flu shot is the best option to prevent infection.

Hand Washing

 

Contamination is one of the easiest ways disease spreads, and flu viruses are sturdy enough to survive for a brief period of time on inanimate surfaces. It’s also commonly spread when people cough into their hands and then touch someone else. Hand washing reduces your exposure to live viruses as well as other contaminants.

 

Avoid Associating With Sick People

 

The more you’re around someone who’s ill, the more likely you are to contract it. If a friend or loved one comes down with the flu, it’s best to avoid prolonged contact with them. The flu can be spread through aerosol contact—droplets in the air spread by coughing—and it’s difficult to avoid that kind of contact. Keep yourself from prolonged contact if you can and save yourself from an unpleasant and potentially dangerous illness.

 

Keeping yourself healthy—getting enough sleep, exercise and healthy food—is one of the biggest steps to avoiding illness, but incorporate these steps as well and you’ll be able to avoid suffering through the flu this year.