Have you had your flu shot? If not, are you making an educated choice? Here are some interesting facts about the flu:
Everybody over the age of 6 months should receive the vaccine. While flu cases tend to peak in January and February, the flu season can begin as early as October and can extend until May. Don’t wait: Early vaccination is your best protection. In recent years, flu vaccines have been about 60 percent effective in preventing people from getting the flu.
When you get vaccinated, you protect both yourself and the people around you. If you don’t get the flu, you can’t “gift” it to your family and friends. This is critically important if you or the people you contact have serious health issues like heart and lung disease or compromised immune systems; in people with these health problems, a bout of the flu can be particularly dangerous and can even cause death.
People with egg allergies mistakenly fear flu vaccine because some vaccines are made with eggs and contain minute quantities of egg proteins. Let’s lay that fear to rest. Flu vaccines are generally safe in people with egg allergies; the vaccines rarely cause a reaction. For those with truly severe egg allergies, we have a version of the flu vaccine that is made without eggs; this is approved for those 18 years of age or older.
Today in North America, the majority of people do not get vaccinated. As a result, each year more than 15 million people get the flu, and 200,000 require hospitalization. (HT: Huffington Post)
So not only are you giving yourself the best shot at staying healthy this year…you’re also protecting your teammates, as well!
Other tips for the season:
1. Get enough sleep: I know how busy we all get around the holidays but we can only expect ourselves to stay healthy if we’re giving our body enough rest so it can fight off all the germs we are going to come into contact with. Sleep is always important to an athlete’s performance but it seems to be the first thing to go when life gets busy.
2. Eat well: pay attention to your fruit and veggie intake — you need those vitamins and minerals to keep your immune function high and it’s easy to let yourself slide into eating too much “party food” (think chips, crackers, dips, and all the fun holiday treats available this time of year).
3. Wash your hands often: Not only will it save you from contaminating yourself, it will save those you come into contact with.
4. Wipe down your equipment: Weight rooms can be a hotbed of germs. People cough, sneeze, and touch everything. Take care of yourself and others by making sure to clean your equipment with an antibacterial cleaner after you use it. (and it never hurts to clean it before you use it just to make sure you are getting clean equipment to work with!)
Taking these simple steps is your best shot at being able to continue your training AND enjoy a great holiday season!