December is often referred to as the most wonderful time of the year! It means family time, holidays, and reminiscing about what we are grateful for over the past year. But it also is a time of constant worry about how not to get the flu.
As we begin National Influenza Vaccination Week, this is a reminder that it’s not too late to get a flu vaccine! With the threat of a “Twindemic,” between COVID-19 and the peak of flu season, it is more important than ever to get your flu shot to protect you from respiratory illnesses.
Luckily, in addition to the flu shot, there are many effective methods to keep you and your family healthy this holiday season. As a community committed to health and wellbeing, Sedera recommends these three tips to stay flu-free this winter:
1. Let Food Be Your Medicine. 90% of Americans are deficient in one or more nutrients, but our immune system relies on these very nutrients to function to the best of its ability. Reducing your sugar and starch intake, which suppresses the immune system for hours after ingesting, can be pivotal in your body’s ability to fight off or attack the flu virus. While this can be challenging with caramel brulee lattes and Christmas cookies everywhere you look, they can also be the culprit if you find yourself catching colds or getting sick easier this time of year.
If you’re not sure where to start, the best method is to make sure you’re eating whole foods (unprocessed and unrefined) whenever possible. A good trick is to attempt to “eat the rainbow” throughout your day and integrate a diverse array of nutrients into your diet. Superfoods like turmeric, garlic, blueberries, salmon, and leafy greens are accessible, delicious items to easily integrate into your meals. If you have kids, smoothies are a good trick and an easy way to sneak some fruits and veggies into their diet!
Imperfect Foods is a low-cost, sustainable way to get healthy foods and vegetables delivered right to your doorstep. Thrive Market is a subscription-based discount grocery delivery service that carries items like high-quality supplements and healthy snacks if you’re looking for quicker ways to get your nutrients in.
2. Sleep, meditate, and plan movement into your day. We know that sleep is pivotal in recharging the body and the immune system. The risk of viral infections has been found to be higher in people who are getting less than 6-8 hours of sleep per night. Without an adequate amount of sleep, staying healthy for long periods of time is next to impossible! If you’re having a hard time falling asleep these days, try to eliminate blue light exposure from your phone or computer screens at least an hour before you want to fall asleep, as this has a powerful effect on our circadian rhythms. Use that time to detox, read your favorite books, or have conversations with your loved ones.
Setting aside time for meditation and movement can be difficult, especially during the holidays, but the data doesn’t lie: stress can increase your chances of getting sick or being susceptible to the flu. Both exercise and meditation are two powerful antidotes to our daily stressors, which are especially heightened for so many of us this year.
The Calm App has a free seven-day trial if you’re new to meditation practice! Or Headspace is $13 per month and even has a specially-curated “Weathering the Storm” collection of meditation content unlocked during the pandemic.
3. Keep it hygienic. It’s 2020. We all know the drill here, and we should all be pros by now!
Research shows the flu can remain viable without a host for around 24 hours. This means that while you can’t get it from purely touching a surface, you can if you touch an infected surface and then touch your face afterward. Ensure you are keeping your family’s communal surfaces clean (a wipe down once a day is recommended). If you’re looking for a quick spritz on-the-go, Trader Joes sells a $2 Grapefruit and Lemon Hand Sanitizer that smells and looks lovely!
If you’re caring for a relative who is sick or aging, be sure to take extra precautions this time of year. Wearing surgical gloves and refraining from physical contact is highly recommended in these circumstances.
4. Lastly, get your flu shot if you haven’t already! As a Sedera Member, your flu shot is on us. First, check with your Direct Primary Care doctor or family physician to see if you can stop in to get it. If not, here are a few places nationwide offering flu shots:
- CVS Pharmacy
- Walgreens Pharmacy
- Rite Aid
- Most colleges offer free flu shots for their students.
- Military veterans enrolled in health care through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs can get a flu shot at their nearest VA health care facility.
- Many county health departments offer free, or discounted, flu vaccinations during flu season.
Your health and wellbeing matter to us. We hope you stay safe, healthy, and joyful throughout the holiday (and flu) season!