Learn how expats can prepare for the flu season
Millions of cases of influenza (or flu) are recorded every year in the United States alone according to the CDC Flue page. What makes the flu virus so scary is that it can even infect those who have already received vaccination for it. The virus can lead to pneumonia, or some other bacterial infection, which can even turn fatal. Influenza is an acute infection of the upper airway caused by an influenza A or B virus. Some of the common symptoms are fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, headaches, fatigue and more. Check with your doctor if you have the flu.
Here’s a list of the 8 best ways to avoid contracting the flu virus and stay healthy during your expat life abroad:
1. Get the Flu Shot
Periodical flu vaccination is a great way to avoid seasonal influenza. A flu vaccination prompts your body to release antibodies that help protect you from strains of common viruses. Flu season generally peaks after November and stays on until March, but this depends on where you live in the world. Vaccination won’t guarantee that you won’t get sick, but by doing so, your immunity will get a boost and you will be less likely to contract the flu virus during those cooler months. The vaccine is available from public health clinics, some doctor’s offices, and some pharmacies.
2. Keep a distance from those who seem affected
Influenza generally hangs in and around respiratory secretions. It can be easily projected in the air as small droplets when an infected person sneezes or coughs. Even if you are not in immediate contact, the air around becomes contaminated by the virus and can affect you as soon as you come close. Ideally, you should try to keep a distance or stay away from people who are already affected by the flu. If you are an expat working abroad, ask your boss if you can work from home to avoid spreading the flu to your fellow expat and local national staff.
3. Wash your hands
People often touch a lot of things that are touched by others too. Even if one of the people who touched a keyboard, water cooler, or a light switch before you did was infected by flu, there are chances that you can get infected too. When you touch your eyes or mouth, the flu virus can infect you. Wash your hands after touching such surfaces to minimize the impact. Hand sanitizer can be a good option too, but certainly not as thorough as a proper hand wash.
4. Encourage infected people to trash their tissues
Those who are infected usually use tissues to avoid contaminating the air. However, after that, they do not dump the tissues immediately. They should be encouraged to do their part and keep everyone else safe, starting by dumping those tissues immediately after use.
5. Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that other people touch
If you are traveling abroad, it makes sense to bring some hand sanitizer or towelettes to disinfect the surfaces on your plane seat and tray that you will be touching during your flight. It may seem a bit excessive, but it may help you avoid catching influenza.
6. Watch your hands
If at all possible, try to keep your hands away from your face, nose, and mouth, especially if you haven’t washed your hands. If you are traveling abroad, it makes sense to bring some hand sanitizer or towelettes to disinfect the surfaces on your plane seat and tray that you will be to
7. Try to Get sufficient sleep
Adequate sleep is a must to avoid influenza. Those who sleep for 7 to 9 hours have a very optimal immune system. Unknowingly, sleep boosts the immunity against respiratory diseases like flu.
8. Try to avoid immunity-boosting supplements
There are many supplements that seemingly reduce the effect of cold. However, they do not eradicate the flu virus. There are many more with similar properties, which promise better results but don’t kill the virus. Worse, your body may stop reacting to such supplements after a while since those don’t heal you completely. This would even stop mild reliefs you used to get earlier.
It’s not possible to completely become immune to the flu. You can only try your best to avoid falling sick by keeping your surroundings clean. You must visit a doctor if you suffer from any symptoms. You must take the vaccination as per the directions of the physician and not try anything yourself. With proper care and precautions, you should be able to get through the season without much trouble. Don’t forget to opt for a robust global health insurance plan to enjoy a healthy and hassle-free expatriate life in your desired destination. As always, consult with your doctor if you are not feeling well!