5 Ways to Prevent the Flu
It’s that time of year again! The weather is changing, the holidays are approaching and flu season is almost here. Every year, more than 31.4 million Americans visit their physician’s office because of the flu. Most people who get sick will have a mild illness and do not need medical or antiviral drugs. However, there are people who will suffer a higher risk of complications from the flu. These people include young children, adults older than age 65, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.
Wondering how to avoid catching the flu and preventing the spread? Here are some tips to follow:
Get a flu shot: One of the most effective ways to avoid catching the flu is to receive a yearly flu vaccine. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it is recommended that everyone over the age of six months get a flu shot. Typically, the flu shot can reduce the risk of flu by 40 to 60 percent.
Wash your hands: The viruses caused by the seasonal flu are spread by airborne droplets, usually when a sick person coughs or sneezes. Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly to avoid getting sick and spreading germs to others. When washing your hands, it important to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds and rinse them under clean, running water. If soap and water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol to clean hands.
Cover your mouth and nose: When coughing, remember to cough into a sleeve, elbow or tissue that you can throw away afterwards. Refrain from coughing or sneezing into your hands. You can also use a facemask if you need to protect others from catching the flu if you aren’t feeling well.
Disinfect surfaces and objects: Studies have shown that the flu virus can live and potentially infect a person for up to 48 hours after being deposited on a surface. Use an antibacterial cleaner on key spots like tabletops, countertops, remote controls, computer keyboards, doorknobs, sinks, and faucet handles.
Practice healthy habits: Get plenty of sleep, stay physically active, manage stress levels, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious foods. These tips will help strengthen your immune system and keep you healthy.