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Flu season is back--and it's taking numbers. How not to get sick this year

Flu season, which usually peaks right around now, typically hits teens like a bad cold. This year, however, the swine flu virus H1N1 is back en force, and it is affecting a lot of young adults in a bad, bad way. According the CDC, 61 percent of the flu-related hospitalizations so far this cold season have occurred in young and middle-aged adults, typically the age range that is least vulnerable to the illness.


The good news is, there are ways to not get the flu—phew! Here’s what to do to keep sickness at bay:


If you haven’t already, get the vaccine. It is 61 percent effective, and while it is typically given prior to the peak of the season, you should still be able to get it.


Wash your hands like a crazy person. Use soap and warm water, and try to wash for about 30 seconds straight. Avoiding bacteria-ridden blow dryers for less environmentally friendly paper towels is a good choice when possible, as well.


Quarantine the sick. Yeah, you miss your hacking-up-a-lung bestie, but don’t feel tempted to visit while she’s sick. Go ahead and bring her homework assignments and care packages, but leave them at the front door, not her bedroom.


Wipe down surfaces sickies have touched, sneeze on or coughed over. Keep a pack of Clorox wipes and a bottle of alcohol-based hand rub in your locker and backpack to wipe down books, desks, doorknobs—anything and everything.


Avoid drama. Stressing over unnecessary things can be detrimental to your immune system, making you a much more vulnerable target.


Get more sleep. In the same vein, sleep is essential for pretty much everything you do, including supporting the immune system that keeps you healthy. Head to bed early, sleep a little later, and take advantage of weekends to catch up on zzz’s.


If you think you’re getting sick with the flu, stay home! Spreading the virus to your entire school is a mean thing to do, even if you want to protect your perfect attendance record. You need to stay home for 24 hours after your fever is gone.


Stay healthy, babes!




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BY BRITTANY TAYLOR ON 2/21/2014 3:01:00 PM


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