3 More Flu Factors You Overlooked
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3 More Flu Risk Factors You Overlooked

In the previous article, I pointed out three big risk factors for the flu that we probably didn’t notice or even consider. But these risks aren’t just limited to hitting the sauce, worrying too much or shaking hands with the boss. Risk factors are all around you; some are places while some are things you do.

In any event, avoiding the flu should be a little easier with these three (or, more accurately, six) techniques. Here are three more risk factors for the flu virus that you have overlooked during your efforts to stave off the dreaded flu. Good luck!

The gym

The gym is a double whammy as a flu risk factor. Sure, working out will make you stronger and fitter, giving greater power to your immune system; however, overdoing it in the gym will actually weaken your immune system, as you are more dehydrated and fatigued, making you susceptible to the flu. What’s more, the gym is a haven for viruses: all those people sweating together, sharing the same equipment without any consideration for hygiene. And don’t forget the filthy showers and change rooms, either!

Don’t get me wrong; the gym is a great way to stay in shape both inside and out, and the benefits far outweigh the bad; but if you overdo it at the gym and do not consider the germs being spread by your fellow gym-goers, you are more likely to get sick than if you exercise at the gym in moderation.

Poor hand washing technique

We all know that washing our hands is the best way to keep the flu at bay, but the problem is, according to a study conducted by the Soap and Detergent Association, most Americans do not wash their hands properly. According to experts, you are supposed to wash your hands at least 10 times per day, and especially after sneezing or coughing; however, the average American (almost half) does not do this. And what’s more, it is recommended that you wash your hands for 20 seconds. But do Americans actually take 20 seconds to wash? No; the average American spends only 15 seconds on the old palm scrub.

My mother taught me that the best way to wash my hands: sing (or, since my singing voice is not very pleasing to the ear) whistle the “Happy Birthday” song twice during you wash your hands. Don’t stop until you have finished to verses. Tedious, sure, but it works.

Smoking

Aside from being stinky and disastrous to your lungs, smoking also makes you more susceptible to the flu virus. This is because smoking kills the hairs in your nose and lungs that prevent germs and viruses from setting up shop. Smokers in general are more susceptible to viruses than their clean non-smoking counterparts, and the flu is no different. The flu, and especially the H1N1 flu virus, digs deep into the lungs, so smokers – with their weakened lungs – are more likely to have a worse infection.