Sunday, March 7, 2021

Flu and eating disorders: stay healthy

* It’s pretty. It’s real. Help your body ward it off.


If you have an eating disorder, whether or not you are in recovery, please know that this flu season holds particular risks for you.  An eating disorder is an illness and therefore compromises your immune system regardless of how you look or how you think about yourself.

If you binge or starve or purge, if you exercise more than others, if food dominates your thinking, if you isolate to feel safe then it’s vital that you pay attention to flu prevention activities.

If you catch the flu with a weak immune system you could be seriously ill for a long time.  It’s easier to catch the flu and more difficult to get better when your body is in a weakened condition.

Here’s a list of some self care actions for flu prevention:

  1. Nourish your body
  2. Keep yourself well hydrated
  3. Get 8-9 hours of sleep a night
  4. Wash your hands before and after using any bathroom
  5. touching anything in public places
  6. eating or drinking in public places
  7. food handling


  1. Avoid touching your face and if you do, wash your hands and face.
  2. Use some kind of cleansing wipe on: dance bars, exercise equipment, keypads, toilet flushers, grocery cart handles – anything that receives a lot of hand contact, especially if it includes contact from others.
  3. Be assertive. If someone near you is coughing or sneezing into the air or into their hands and then touching something, please ask them to use tissue or leave the area, whichever is most appropriate.
  4. Check with your doctor about the advisability of taking vitamin supplements.
  5. Don’t get too hungry, thirsty or tired.

This flu season is particularly of concern.  It started earlier which means it may last longer.  It’s at high or extreme levels in every state.  Don’t be misled because the information coming out says the people most vulnerable are aged under eight or over 65. Included are people who already suffer from some kind of illness. That means you.

Eating disorders are illnesses.  Please take care of yourself so you don’t get sick.

Questions for you:

  1. What are you doing to take care of yourself now?
  2. What more could you do?

Please share your answers in the comments and help each other.


Helpful Links:

Flu Outbreak In 2013 Earliest, One Of The Worst In A Decade  

Medical consequences of eating disorders  

what the Center for Disease Control has to say  

Flu symptoms


How flu viruses attack: National Geographic video


*biology and structure of a generic influenza virus 

From Centers of Disease Control and Prevention



Joanna Poppink, MFT

eating disorder recovery psychotherapist


author of Healing Your Hungry Heart

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