It’s hard to believe, but winter-germ season is here. Along with the colder temperatures comes with it the potential for sneezes, sniffles and the flu. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall health impact of a flu season changes from year to year, but it is estimated that millions of people are sickened, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from the flu every year.1
These numbers are staggering, and may beg the question, “What can I do to fight the flu this season?”
The CDC recommends these three important steps.
If you haven’t already gotten your flu shot, now is the time, especially since this week is National Influenza Vaccination Week. While you may not be able to completely avoid the flu, the CDC recommends that everyone 6 months or older get vaccinated every year. The flu vaccine can help keep you from getting sick, and if you should become ill, reduce the severity of the illness.2
Take Everyday Preventive Measures
As we all know, germs can easily spread from person to person. In fact, the CDC estimates that up to 80% of all infections are transmitted by the hands.3 This is why practicing good hand hygiene – handwashing and hand sanitizing - is one of the most important preventive measures we can all take to reduce the spread of germs that can cause illness. If soap and water are not available, the CDC recommends using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
Be sure to clean and disinfect surfaces. It is important to clean and disinfect both hard and soft surfaces often as well as frequently touched objects, such as office equipment and children’s toys. Also, always sanitize and disinfect food-preparation surfaces with a sanitizer and disinfectant specifically formulated for those surfaces.
Also avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth to prevent germs from spreading. And avoid close contact with those that are ill. If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone and limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
- Take Prescription Antiviral Drugs
If you do come down with the flu, be sure to see your doctor for prescription antiviral drugs as they can help to treat your illness and make your illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
None of us want the flu to slow us down, especially this time of the year. Learn more about ways to fight flu this National Influenza Vaccination Week by following the conversation on social media using #FightFlu.