Avoiding the Flu this Season

With flu season approaching, it is important to understand the disease and how you can avoid catching the flu bug.  Not only will getting the flu make you feel miserable, it will also make it impossible for you to engage in your regular workout routine.  So, in the name of your health – both long term and short term – learn the basics about this illness so you can keep it at bay.

Understanding the Flu

Many people think that they catch the flu from spending time outdoors in the cold.  It is easy to see why there is this misconception, as most people become sick with the flu during the winter and in otherwise old weather.  The reality is that the flu, just like the cold, is spread from a virus.  The temperature outside has nothing to do with getting you sick with a virus.  Rather, the virus is spread by other people with the flu and, once you catch it, it causes you to experience a whole host of terrible side effects.  These generally include body aches, coughing, fever, congestion and possibly nausea and diahrrea depending upon the type of flue you catch.

The flu virus is transmitted in a number of different ways, though they all involve spending time in the air at some point or another.  For example, if a person sick with the flu sneezes, coughs or even talks, the virus exits that person’s body and becomes airborne.  The viruses then come to rest on a variety of services, which you can then pick up if you touch the surface and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes.  Therefore, if you work out at a gym, you are at an increased risk of picking up the flu virus as you share equipment with other gym members that may be sick with the flu.

Taking Steps to Prevent the Flu

In order to keep yourself feeling well and to keep the flu at bay, there are several steps you can take.  One of the most common methods people take to avoid the flu is to get a flu shot, but there are some negative side effects associated with the shot.  For example, some people actually experience allergic reactions to the shot, which may include itching or developing rashes.  Another downside to getting the flu shot is the fact that you can actually catch the flu by getting the shot.  Even worse, since the flu virus changes each year, researchers have to guess at the makeup of the virus for the year.  As a result, there is no guarantee that the shot will actually be effective.  Still, many people swear by the flu shot and believe it has helped them avoid catching the illness.
If you want to avoid getting the flu shot, there are still steps you can take to help keep you healthy.  For example, taking special care to wash your hands on a regular basis and to avoid touching your face are two great ways to prevent the spread o the germ.  In fact, you may want to consider carrying a bottle of antibacterial hand gel with you, particularly during the flu and cold season, in order to further decrease your chances of getting sick.  And, if you are going to the gym to get your workout, purchase your own at home exercise equipment so you don’t have to workout in a gym filled with the germs of others.