Tips to prevent the flu
How to stay healthy and reduce your risk of catching the flu this season.
How to prepare for the flu season.
The 2017 flu season was one of the worst influenza seasons in recent decades. However, a rising number of Americans are seeing the importance of their flu shot. According to a CityMD survey in August 2018, 57 percent of Americans are planning to get their flu shot this year, compared to 51 percent in 2016.
This yields true across nearly all age groups. Younger generations (ages 18-34) planning to get the flu shot increased from 42 percent in 2016 to 54 percent in 2018. Not surprisingly, parents are more likely to plan to get their flu vaccines than those who are not (62 percent vs. 55 percent, respectively).
The good news is there are steps you can take to prevent catching and spreading the flu. Frank Illuzzi, MD, CPE, FACEP, Chief Medical Officer of CityMD, explains.
Get your flu shot early.
All adults and children should get a flu shot before the end of October, to give your body a chance to build antibodies, which is about a two-week process. This is especially true for vulnerable populations: children, pregnant women and adults over 65, as it takes additional time to build immunity.
Wash your hands frequently during flu season.
While the flu shot is best way to prevent the flu, it’s important to take other precautions. CityMD found that 61 percent of Americans admitted to going out and about when they had the flu or flu-like symptoms in a 2017 poll. While not surprising, the most frequented place was the pharmacy (69 percent), 43 percent admitted to going to the grocery store while sick, and 39 percent said they went to work.
Flu germs can last up to 24 hours, depending on the surface. The harder the surface, the longer the germs can last. Wash your hands frequently during flu season and use hand sanitizer when possible.
Stay home when you have the flu.
It can be tempting to continue on with daily activities when you are sick. But remember, you are not only compromising your chances of fast recovery, but also putting others at risk for catching the virus. As long as you have symptoms and sick germs, you are contagious. Take time off of work, if possible, and ask for help from friends and family members for errands, such as picking up or dropping off your child from school.
According to Dr. Illuzzi - “People saw the harshness of last year’s flu season, and the data shows that people are not taking chances this year. The single, most important preventative measure to avoid the full harshness of influenza is to get a flu shot. It’s a simple, fast and affordable shield from a preventable illness.”
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