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There is good news and bad news about the 2019-2020 flu season.

Let’s get the bad news out of the way first. We are in the season right now, which generally runs from about October to February, although sometimes it lingers longer. People over 65 are more susceptible to the flu since their immune systems are generally not as strong than that of young people. Most flu-related deaths and half of flu-related hospitalizations occur in seniors.

The best news about this year’s flu season has to do with treatment. Most people are advised to get a preventative flu shot (check with your doctor first). But in 2018 the first new treatment in nearly 20 years reached the market. It is called Xofluza. This anti-viral is a single dose medication taken by mouth. Just like Tamiflu, not everybody is a potential user of Xofluza. But if your doctor gives you the go-ahead, you can expect it to shorter your symptoms by at least a couple of days.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and other health experts agree there are a number of preventative measures you can take, in addition to the flu shot:

  • Drink water. Staying hydrated can make your immune system stronger, and if you do contract the flu, water can help flush toxins from your system.
  • Wash you hands frequently using hot water and soap. Remember, touching keyboards, shaking hands, and other uses of your hands can lead to trouble if you don’t counteract with frequent hand washing. Often we might touch something with our hands and then subconsciously touch our nose of mouth, which can easily lead to transmission of the virus.
  • Get plenty of rest. While everybody knows how important it is to get enough sleep, what you may not know is that sleep can help strengthen your immune system. It is the body’s natural way to replenish strength and disease resistance.
  • Keep your environment clean – maybe even cleaner than usual. The CDC recommends frequently cleaning surfaces in your home and work or school. It is also important to clean anything that is continually touched by people. That includes doorknobs, toilet handles, remote controls, stair railings, refrigerator handles, drawer pulls, trash cans, appliance knobs or buttons, and faucet handles. Keyword: Disinfect! (Don’t forget surfaces in your car or truck, as well, including steering wheels and media controls).
  • Eat well. You’ve heard the saying, “Feed the machine.” Your machine is your body, and nutrition goes a long way in strengthening your immune system and providing needed energy.

Everyone must take flu season seriously – last year was one of the longest seasons in recent memory. It lasted all the way until May. But they say when you know better you do better – now you know.

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