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It’s that time of the year again; the flu-pocalypse AKA flu season. And it looks like this year, it’s back with a vengeance. Studies have shown that this flu season is not only worse than other years, but it’s expected to last longer. This year the dominant strain is Influenza A-H3N2, which tends to cause a worse season than any other strain. It also began earlier than usual, in November, just in time for holiday gatherings, which potentially helped it spread faster. Here are some simple tips to stay healthy during this god awful time.

Get The Flu Vaccine

In general, facilities and hospitals make the flu vaccine a requirement, but just in case: get your flu shot! Even though this year’s vaccine is less effective against certain strains, you absolutely have to get it. The vaccine will be the the first line of defense against the pesky flu. Plus, you don’t want anyone saying “I told you so,” if you don’t get the vaccine and get sick.

Learn About Flu Trends in your State

Flu epidemic trends can vary depending on your destination. Take some time to research current statistics in your state or wherever your next assignment is. You can then plan accordingly, and help educate others. Remember, knowledge is power!

Sanitize! Sanitize! Sanitize!

Arm yourself with hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes to keep your hands and your space clean. Set reminders on your phone to consistently give a wipe down to all your tools of the trade. It also helps to have some hand lotion on hand, to avoid crackly dry skin.

Enforce Best Practices

It’s time to get proactive! A lot of therapists work with elderly patients or children, prime targets for the flu, so always remind them to use hand sanitizer. Gently let friends and family know to use tissues when they sneeze and regularly wash their hands. Sure they may get annoyed at you, but you have your their best interests in mind!

Take Care of Yourself

Maybe you’ve been treating your body like an amusement park, rather than a temple, but one of the simplest ways to keep the flu at bay is to be healthy. Get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. Make sure you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals by filling your plate with whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables. Cut back on the coffee, and drink plenty of water. Keep that immune system in tip top shape!

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