Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Flu and Stress: What’s the Connection?

In October, Team CareLinx provided readers a handy "Timely Tips for Flu Season." Today's guest editorial by Daily Caring is also timely, given the approaching holidays:

Flu and Stress: What’s the Connection?

Stress and flu are definitely connected
You may think that getting the flu is just the luck of the draw, but your chances of getting sick are actually connected with how stressed you are. We all know that family caregivers are some of the most stressed people in the world. Being pulled in every direction and never having enough hours in the day will do that to you!

Why does being stressed mean you’ll get the flu?
When you’re under stress, your body has a fight or flight reaction. Your body makes it a priority to fuel the body parts that help you escape or deal with the stressful situation.

For example, you’ve suddenly run out of adult diapers. You have to go to the store and back right now, but that will make you late for work. But you don’t have a choice, so you rush off the the store in a panic and feeling extra stressed because of the last minute rush and because of what your boss will say when you show up late again.

In that example, your body is giving energy to the parts of you that are actively getting you through that situation. That means there’s not much energy being used to keep your immune system strong. When these stressful situations happen frequently, your body is almost constantly in fight or flight mode!

When your immune system is at reduced strength, it’s easy for viruses to slip past your natural defenses and infect you with the flu. It’s even worse during flu season because the flu virus and other germs are everywhere.

De-stress to avoid the flu
To keep yourself healthy and avoid getting the flu this year, work on reducing stress in your life. Don’t worry, you don’t have to overhaul your life and make it picture perfect. A few small changes make a huge difference in your immune system and overall health.

Here are some tips to help you reduce stress by making small changes:

One last thing
To further lower your chances of getting sick, beef up your natural defenses by getting the flu shot. Here are 5 reasons to get a flu shot today.

Some call DailyCaring.com the “Reader’s Digest” of caregiving and aging information. Families caring for older adults can get free email updates with practical tips and resources. Improve your care situation by subscribing at www.DailyCaring.com today!
By DailyCaring Editorial Staff

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