The flu is a serious and contagious disease that can lead to hospitalization or even death.
To protect yourself and those around you, take action by following these tips:
Get the flu vaccine. It’s not too late.
Since the flu season could last well into March or April, there’s still plenty of time to protect yourself. And even if you get the flu, the vaccine may help to lessen the severity of the illness.
Who should get the flu shot? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every season.
Protect loved ones or those in your care.
Vaccination of high risk individuals is especially important. This includes: young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions such as asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease and seniors 65 years and older.
Vaccination is also important for health care workers and those caring for babies younger than 6 months since infants are are too young to be vaccinated but remain at risk for serious illness.
Wash your hands and wash often.
Washing your hands is one of the best ways to protect yourself against germs. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Try not to touch these areas on your face since these are among the most direct pathways for germs to enter your body.
Limit or avoid close contact with those who are sick.
“Close contact” is generally defined as a distance of up to six feet, according to the CDC. And when you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them as well.
Guard your home.
Good rule of thumb: have all household members wash their hands after arriving home. Clean and disinfect surfaces or objects you touch regularly or that may be contaminated with the flu.
Have family members use their own bath towels and washcloths and don’t forget to wash bedding if someone has been ill.
Clean frequently used surfaces or common areas.
Clean and disinfect “high traffic” areas or surfaces at home, work or school, especially if someone has been ill. Keep it simple by focusing on the hard surfaces people touch the most.
Practice good health habits.
Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food. Together, these things will go a long way in helping to guard or boost your immunity to the flu.