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Flu, cold, gastro...what to do to get through the winter and stay healthy
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Although there has been a decrease in non-COVID-19 related infections worldwide in 2020 thanks to lockdowns, working from home, wearing a mask or using hand sanitiser, the decrease in exposure to the various winter viruses should not make you forget that they exist and that they are back! Let's look at the best practices to spend the winter in peace.

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Life as we knew it is almost back: international travel is on the rise, social gatherings become part of your routine, and COVID-19 protective measures are sometimes less followed, which means more chance of catching a cold, flu, gastroenteritis (or stomach flu), or other winter viruses.

Any good news? You can greatly reduce the risk of getting these infections, and avoid fever, fatigue, chills, coughs, sore throats, aches and pains, and a stuffy nose. Remember the good habits you adopted at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, they also protect you against all other viruses!

Get your flu shot too

Active from October to March and affecting between 2 and 6 million people each year, the highly contagious influenza virus can cause lung infections or aggravation of certain chronic diseases1.

As with COVID-19, the seasonal flu vaccine protects against severe forms of the virus and its formula changes each year depending on the strains that are circulating. This injection, which does not contain the live virus, is given directly into the arm muscle to generate antibodies in about two weeks.

Good to know: the vaccine is free in France for people at risk, and may, depending on your policy, be reimbursed by your private insurance company.

Continue to wash your hands regularly and wear a mask

Wash your hands frequently with warm water and plenty of soap after using the toilet, before eating, after touching surfaces or objects in public places, or even after a contact with a sick person. If you cannot wash your hands, take some hand sanitiser with you: some are pocket-size and different smells are also available. If you don't have a sink or sanitiser with you, try not to touch your nose, mouth or eyes.

In public areas or in contact with sick people: wearing a mask will also help block droplets which contains the influenza and COVID-19 viruses, preventing them from entering your body!

Clean up, often and use disinfectants

During the winter season, think about surfaces and objects that are frequently touched.

Clean them regularly with disinfectant spray or wipes. Make it a habit to sanitise the most affected areas of your home, such as remote controls, computer keyboards or mice (especially when shared), fridge doors, light switches and door handles, at least several times a week.

Take care of yourself by eating and sleeping well

Take time to prepare and eat healthy food, and get enough rest. Focus on foods rich in vitamins and minerals, such as fruit and vegetables, but don't forget about protein and whole grains. Drink plenty of water and choose unprocessed foods to contribute to your overall wellbeing2.

Getting enough restful sleep is also essential for good health. For most adults, this means between seven and nine hours of uninterrupted sleep. If you feel exhausted, listen to your body and get some extra sleep.

Stay active and exercise

Regular exercise can help reduce the onset of many diseases (especially if combined with a balanced diet) and has a positive impact on your mood.

As well as strengthening your skeleton and muscles, regular physical activity will increase your flexibility, strengthen your breathing capacity and prevent weight gain.

Research also shows that regular physical activity improves the quality and duration of sleep, which is a great help in keeping illness at bay.

In this virus-prone season, follow these tips to keep yourself and those around you healthy!

APRIL International: reimbursements for your consultations and winter illnesses abroad

To prepare for the winter abroad, take out international health insurance and enjoy a peaceful winter. If you have symptoms of the flu, COVID-19 or any other seasonal viruses, do not hesitate to consult a doctor. With the Easy Claim app included in your package, you can make an appointment online and get a teleconsultation within 3 hours, 24/7!

Sources:

1-2 : Ameli.fr

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