You may still be enjoying the last of summer weather, but cold and flu season is just around the corner. Each year, up to 20 percent of people in the U.S. come down with the flu, and if you’ve been among them, you know it’s a rough ride. There are a number of things you and your family can do now to avoid these common illnesses in the months ahead:
Get the flu shot. This is the number one thing you can do protect yourself from the influenza virus. You can get a flu shot almost anywhere these days – your doctor’s office, the local pharmacy, and even at work if your employer offers vaccines on-site, and it only takes a few minutes at most. Plus, flu shots are covered as a preventive service under the Affordable Care Act, so you should be able to get vaccinated at little to no cost to you. It’s a no-brainer.
Keep hands clean and germs to yourself. Prevent the spread of germs by frequently washing your hands or using alcohol-based hand sanitizers if necessary. Along the same lines, if you have to sneeze or cough, make sure to use a tissue or cover your mouth with your elbow to keep germs from becoming airborne. And to protect yourself, don’t touch your nose, eyes or mouth if you can help it.
Take care of yourself. These are always good ideas, but continue exercising, eating healthy and getting enough sleep to keep your immune system in tip-top shape all winter long.
If you feel sick… Stay home! Learn more about the symptoms of the flu so you know how to respond to get back on your feet quickly and avoid getting others sick. Drink plenty of fluids, rest when possible and call your doctor.
If you’re a Health Advocate member, contact your Personal Health Advocate for more information about the flu or to schedule an appointment with your doctor or find a location near you to get your flu shot.