Given the fact that flu season is now upon us, we want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this often debilitating illness. The good news is that there are a few simple things you can do to protect yourself, prevent the disease from spreading, and speed up recovery from the flu, in case you do get sick.
The first and most important step is to get vaccinated. This is the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu virus. While it is still possible to contract the flu after receiving a vaccination, it is much less likely. And if you do get sick, studies have shown that flu vaccinations can make your illness milder.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends annual flu vaccination for everyone 6 months and older, with any age-appropriate flu vaccine. If you are considering a nasal spray flu vaccine, it is important to know that this option is approved by the CDC for use in nonpregnant individuals, ages 2 through 49, and that there is a precaution against this option for those with certain underlying medical conditions. Talk with your health care provider about the best flu vaccination method for you.
To get your flu vaccination, you can visit the Public Health Department, a walk-in clinic or pharmacy, or your provider’s office. If you don’t have a primary care provider, visit our website and browse our Find a Doctor section. If possible, you should plan to receive your flu vaccine before flu activity begins near you, as it can take approximately two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective. A good rule of thumb is to get vaccinated by the end of October.
In addition to your flu vaccination, there are a number of other important things you can do to prevent the spread of infection and protect yourself, your family and our community during flu season and year-round, including:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol-based
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoiding sharing food, cups or eating utensils
- Disinfecting your home and belongings, such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas
For the full list and story, visit The Register-Herald.