This Swine Flu, H1N1, has certainly been center stage for a while now. I keep thinking it doesn’t seem as bad as I feared it was going to be. We certainly have had students with the H1N1 flu at school…but not nearly as many as we anticipated…although some may say it is because the season has just begun. I am praying that that is not the case.
I keep an eye on the news… I remember stories told about my great great uncle George who, after being a hot-air balloonist in World War 1, lost the love of his life, Louise, to the Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918. He never recovered from her loss, familial legend says, and he died a taciturn bachelor, Dakota grain farmer.
While I was in junior high, in 1976, my family and I stood in a long line in Loveland, Colorado, to receive the Swine Flu vaccination for an epic epidemic that never occurred.
I remember hearing stories of people who were later affected by the vaccine, not by the flu…and I anxiously and silently waited for similar side effects to hit me. Luckily, my dramatic premonitions, like the expected epidemic, never came to fruition.
I have decided not to get a vaccination for the H1N1 flu. There seems to be a lot of unanswered questions about the flu and the vaccine…..so I will do my best to remain healthy by consciously taking care of myself.
There are several simple precautions you can use to proactively help lessen your chances of getting the flu (of any sort) this season:
1) Wash your hands every time you think about it. Be especially careful to wash before meals, after coming home, after being around others….you get it…just keep washing! Wash your hands with soap and water after handling money, shopping carts, doorknobs, public bathrooms, public phones, etc.
2) DO NOT touch your eyes, nose, and lips if your hands are not clean. Viruses can easily enter your system via these openings. Like I tell my students at school: don’t put that borrowed pencil in your mouth, don’t share your chap stick or soda…. Stay away from people who are visibly sick. Don’t use other people’s pens, and phones.
3) Get lots of rest…really…8 hours is so much better for your immune system than 5-6 hours.
4) Eat health whole foods; get plenty of protein and lots of antioxidants from colorful fruits and vegetables, avoid sugar and excessive caffeine
5) Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day
6) Take a good multivitamin and include extra Vitamin C, Zinc, A, D and fish oil (Omega-3) (all known supporters of healthy immune systems)
7) Manage your stress with meditate, relaxation, having fun, and most importantly by listening to your body.