Flu season runs from October to February and can extend as late as May. For almost half a year we are constantly fighting a seemingly invisible foe. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), people with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (YUCK!) Less often, a person might also get the flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
The Flu Is Contagious
Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than seven days. Symptoms start one to four days after the virus enters the body. That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Some people can be infected with the flu virus but have no symptoms. During this time, those persons may still spread the virus to others.
How to Avoid Getting Sick
1. Stay away from sick people and stay home if you’re sick.
2. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20-seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
3. Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first.
4. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
5. Frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially if someone is ill.
Sugar and the Flu Season
Is it a coincidence that the height of flu season is just after the sugar-filled holiday season? Couple that with an increased lack of sun exposure due to the winter months and you have a situation ideal for illness to settle in. Here are five things you should know about sugar.
1. Sugar decreases the white blood cell activity for as long as five hours. This is like a food coma for your immune system.
2. Antibody production is slowed down when sugar is introduced to the body. Antibodies are like the soldiers of the immune system. They are sent by the cells to attack invaders. The longer the response time, the sicker you will become and the longer it will take to get over it.
3. Vitamin C is also a victim of sugar, which disrupts its purpose in protecting cells from damage.
4. Sugar will thin the walls of cells, making them more susceptible to toxins.
5. Another major hindrance occurs in the liver. Sugar impedes the liver’s ability to clear toxins from the body. When the body cannot detoxify itself, you will feel crummy, which only compounds your susceptibility to serious illness.