6 Ways to Get the Flu

Or Do the Opposite to Stay Healthy

Haven't had a sick day in a while? Here are six ways to increase the chance you will end up sick in bed.


Of course, this list is "tongue in cheek." Nobody wants to be sick in bed with the flu, and most would rather take their paid-time-off to do something fun when they're healthy. And, on a much more serious note, contracting the flu can even be life-threatening for some people.

But since far too many people still contract the flu each year, let's take a humorous look at how to catch the flu—and then talk about how to stay healthy instead.

Don't Get a Flu Shot

Flu shots are the best way to protect yourself from the flu, so if you want to get the flu, don't get a flu shot. The vaccine works by stimulating your body to create antibodies that will fight the influenza virus. If you are actually exposed to the influenza virus, your body will recognize it and be able to fight it off without making you sick. Occasionally, you might still get sick even if you have had the vaccine because your body isn't able to create enough antibodies to fight off the infection completely.

Of course, if you want to get the flu, don't get the vaccine at all. Then your body won't have any advanced notice and will not be equipped to prevent you from getting sick.

Or...To Stay Healthy: Get your flu shot each year.

Don't Wash Your Hands

Don't bother washing your hands—especially before you eat. Germs are everywhere and our hands touch so many things in our environments that there are bound to be some viruses there at some point. Flu viruses can live on surfaces for up to three hours. So if someone sneezes or coughs and those droplets that contain the influenza virus land on a door handle, keyboard, or another object that you touch a little while later, you can easily get sick. In some cases, for example a warm, wet towel, viruses can live much longer. If you don't wash your hands, you are much more likely to get some of those germs into your body and get sick.

While you're at it, skip the hand sanitizer as well. Since hand sanitizer kills the germs on your hands, using it will cut down on your chances of getting sick.

Or...To Stay Healthy: Learn how to wash your hands and when to use hand sanitizer.

Encourage Your Sick Friends to Visit

Spending lots of time with people who are sick will increase your chances of getting sick yourself. Close contact like shaking hands and hugging or kissing will allow the germs to spread even more easily. So invite those friends and family members over when they are sick or go visit them. If you want to catch whatever they have, visit frequently and don't worry about washing your hands or turning away when they cough and sneeze.

Or...To Stay Healthy: You may be able to avoid sick friends and relatives who don't live with you. But you'll need additional tactics to protect yourself and other family members in your own household. You will need to be vigilant with handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, and not sharing drinking cups and utensils. As well, getting that yearly flu shot is essential.

Schedule a Few Meetings With Sick Coworkers

We all know far too many people come to work when they are sick and having them in the office only increases the chances that everyone else will get sick, too. If you know a coworker is sick and has come to work anyway, scheduling a few extra meetings with them or just stopping by their desk a few times will help you pick up some of those germs.

Or...To Stay Healthy: Encourage your coworkers to stay home when they are sick, and if you're an employer, don't make taking sick days difficult when your employees are truly ill.

Eat Lots of Junk Food

Although an unhealthy diet won't guarantee that you will get the flu it definitely can increase your risk of getting sick. A diet that consists primarily of healthy foods that contain a lot of antioxidants has been shown to keep people healthier. Eating an unhealthy diet makes your body more susceptible to catching germs and getting sick and you will probably have a harder time fighting off those infections when you get them. So if you want to get the flu, load up on the junk food.

Or...To Stay Healthy: Load up on foods that may help prevent colds and the flu as well as these foods that boost your immune system.

Be a Couch Potato

Similar to eating an unhealthy diet, avoiding exercise at all costs will also weaken your immune system, making it more likely that you will get sick from the flu (and any number of other illnesses.) Watching lots of TV and not exercising won't give you the flu of course, but an unhealthy body increases your susceptibility to the influenza virus should you be exposed.

Or...To Stay Healthy: Exercise. Take steps to get you hooked on a healthy habit.

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