Spring Breaking You with Flu

Spring break is a wonderful time, unless your a pharmacist. I was looking at our flu encounters the past couple of years and noticed the trend the my immunology professor warned me about, and something I began to notice while in college: flu spikes during or right after spring break.flu

Now this spike is as big as the initial outbreak that occurs in late December or early January, but there is a definite uptick in flu cases at our clinic and we start handing out Tamiflu for a week or two. Here is one article talking about it:

 

 

http://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/spring-backward-will-break-mean-an-increase-in-flu/article_3355debf-3f97-5051-a194-ab496ee292a7.html

It discusses that many people may not be traveling this year due to the weather problems we’ve been having and travel is usually part of the problem.

Spring break is not usually a time you think about getting sick. It is usually about vacationing and relaxing. I don’t recommend the spring breaking most college co-eds seem to be engaged in but that’s another article. Here are a few things to remember when going on spring break, if you go at all.

1. Wash hands – This mantra should be applied all the time no matter where you are. People touch their faces more than they realize and washing hands is a good way to help not only the flu but also many other problems.

2. Don’t binge drink – Binge drinking has been shown to lower immune response by stopping certain cytokine release and inflammation processes which leave you vulnerable to infection. Here is an article on it:

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/164391.php

If you drink, do it in moderation and please don’t drink and drive.

3.Keep up on the vitamin D – I know this is a controversial subject for some but vitamin D has been shown to help keep the immune system functioning properly. Seeing as how the sun’s rays still aren’t strong enough, at least up here in the north, to produce vitamin D in the body, supplementation is required. Cod liver is a good way to start because of the Vitamin A that is present.

4. Rest – While I’m ready to enjoy spring break just like anyone else it’s important to not overdo it. Mostly I mean by staying up till the wee hours of the morning and then going at it hard again the next day, doing whatever it is you’re doing. Getting enough sleep is important for the immune system so don’t sell yourself short.

sleep

Don’t underestimate a good night’s sleep

 

 

 

 

 

5. Eat good food – Funny how these all sound like the stuff you need to prevent flu in the first place. Oh wait, they are! Eating lots of junk, especially sugar will leave you vulnerable as, you guessed it, the immune system is affected. Eating some tasty treats or some good burgers is a must during a break, but don’t over do it.

6. Don’t use Spring Break to stress – If you’re doing lots of work or trying to do extra ( which is unlikely as the kids will be home) the stress will hammer your immune system. Making the kids do the work is a much better use of time đŸ™‚

Have a great Spring Break!

CIAO

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