Every fall brings the same challenge: how to prevent the flu? Here are some guidelines to keep the flu at bay.
Influenza, or the flu, can be a serious illness, especially for people with weak immune systems like the very young, or those with certain diseases such as diabetes. Fall is the time to take action before the flu strikes. Here are great prevention ideas.
Get vaccinated. The Center for Disease Control recommends the vaccine for everyone 6 months of age or older, as well as those at high risk, such as pregnant women. Flu shots are widely available, from the corner pharmacy to free public events. Check with your physician or search online for locations.
Talk with your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs to prevent complications caused by the flu or antibiotics in case the flu escalates into a bacterial infection. Take all prescribed medications exactly as instructed for best results. Keep in mind that, according to flu.gov, medication may ease symptoms but not decrease contagion.
Sneeze safely. Spray from sneezes and coughs spreads the flu. Always cover your sneeze to contain germs and, instead of using your hand, aim for your inner elbow or a tissue. Turn away from anyone near you and don't be afraid to ask a stranger to cover up.
Scrub with soap. Beyond the flu vaccine, washing hands is the most important step in flu prevention. Lather for at least 20 seconds with soap before rinsing. Flu germs live on surfaces for 2 hours or more, so it's best to banish them before they jump from your hands onto a door knob, a telephone or a public water fountain. Keep hand sanitizer with you in case you can't get to a sink.
Maintain healthy habits. Sleeping well, drinking plenty of water, eating well-rounded meals and exercising all contribute to a strong immune system. Your chances of getting the flu, or any illness, drop when you care for yourself well.
Stop the flu in its tracks before it visits your home! Brandon Regional Hospital is here to help. To learn more about how we can keep your family save and healthy, give us a call at (813) 681-5551. You can also call our Consult-A-Nurse® service at 1-888-327-2636 for answers to your healthcare questions or a free physician referral.