Tips for Surviving Flu Season
Winter is here, and with it comes what might just be the worst part of the season: The flu virus. The flu virus season is unpredictable. It’s too early to tell what this year will bring. However, there are some ways in which you can protect both yourself and family members from catching the virus.
Get Vaccinated. The number one way to prevent the flu virus is to get your annual influenza vaccination shot. Since the virus can be fatal in young children, the elderly, and pregnant women, it’s important that they (and you if you live with them) get vaccinated. And if you’re afraid the vaccine will give you the flu, please know that that’s actually a myth.
Wash your hands often. Make sure you wash your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds. Do so before eating and after coughing, sneezing, or touching public areas such as doorknobs. If you can’t access soap and water, use hand sanitizer with an alcohol base of at least 60 percent.
Cover your mouth and nose. If you get sick, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent those around you from catching it too.
Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. You may not know if you’ve made contact with something that has germs, so avoid touching these parts of your body.
Practice other good health habits. Stay physically active, drink tons of fluids (water, not soda or alcohol!), eat a balanced diet, and get plenty of sleep.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Since the flu virus can spread by droplets made when people with the flu cough, sneeze, or talk, it’s important to keep your distance from those who are ill.
Learn the flu symptoms. Try to identify them early and seek medication attention at the onset. Pay a visit to your doctor if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, fatigue, and even diarrhea or vomiting. If you’re not sure if it’s just a cold, here’s how you can tell the difference: The flu usually comes on suddenly and keeps you out of commission for a few days. Colds, on the other hand, are much milder and include symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose.
Don’t share utensils. Avoid contact with germ-ridden cups and hand towels by using your own. You might want to consider switching to paper towels and plastic cups and utensils to help prevent the spread of germs.