What Are the Best Vitamins to Prepare for Flu Season?

Safeguarding yourself from every illness out there is impossible. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to ensure you’re in good health when the regular flu season arrives. After all, combatting illnesses is the very reason your body is equipped with an immune system. And, if 2020 has taught us anything, there are plenty of precautions you can take to boost your chances of evading even the most contagious enemies. Here are the best vitamins and other practices to prepare for the flu season.

What is the flu, and when is flu season?

The flu, or influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. According to the CDC, symptoms of the flu include:

  • Potential fever or a feverish feeling/chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting and diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

The typical flu season, meaning the time period when cases are highest, typically runs any given year from October to early April. However, in some years, the flu doesn’t peak until January or February. If you’re wondering what the severity of the flu will look like this year with COVID also in the mix, it’s hard for health professionals to predict so far, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

What factors affect your chances of getting the flu?

Both fortunately and unfortunately, a lot of the same factors that increase your chances of contracting the regular flu align with COVID. The flu, COVID, and just about any illness are more likely to impact the immunocompromised or individuals who do not look out for their health in general.

Certain practices you should be mindful of include “cough” hygiene, cleaning or disinfecting high-touch areas in your home or workplace, (now) wearing a mask, and washing your hands frequently and effectively. You should also refrain from touching your face as much as possible for many reasons related to hygiene.

In addition to the vitamins we’ll discuss below, what are some ways to prevent the flu? The best way to protect yourself from the flu is still by getting the annual flu vaccine. As of early September, the vaccine is widely available — often free or at a low cost. Many pharmacies and clinics are also offering appointments so you can guarantee your spot and limit your contact with others. Other good practices include staying home when you don’t feel well and keeping your cabinets stocked with both cleaning items and other wellness staples to combat symptoms, like pain-relievers, tissues, hand sanitizer, and more.

A few other ways to keep yourself in good health all year long include:

  • Getting plenty of sleep
  • Eating a balanced diet full of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats
  • Exercising regularly, preferably daily if you can
  • Limiting your stress levels or finding a good outlet

Best vitamins to protect yourself from the flu

Like the best vitamins to boost your immune system, the best vitamins to prepare for flu season are similar. However, in order to reap the best benefits for your health overall, it may not help you too much to reach for additional supplements. Instead, you should do your best to get as much of your vitamin intake as possible from a healthy diet.

To cover any lapses, it may help you to also consider a multivitamin if you’re not already taking one, as well as a probiotic. Of course, you should always consult your health professional prior to adding anything new to your routine. But what about zinc, echinacea, or vitamin C? Aren’t these supposed to protect you from the cold or flu? While they may help in limited ways and it’s generally safe to take these supplements, they aren’t foolproof ways of protecting yourself from the flu.

A few other vitamins to ensure you’re getting plenty of includes those from green, leafy vegetables, as well as vitamin D from the sun. When it comes to boosting the healing and protective power of your diet in an easy way, add color (naturally). Eating a rainbow of fruits and vegetables ensures you’re getting a wide variety of nutrients, like vitamin C. You may also benefit from drinking some green tea.

Again, with flu season practically here and COVID still upon us, it will benefit us all to follow general health practices as well as adopt a new vitamin regimen, if it makes sense for you.

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