Each year, between 9 and 35 million people will come down with the flu. As a quickly mutating virus, this illness can quickly spread through communities and result in severe complications. This cold and flu season, you can take action to stop the flu virus in its tracks.
Get the Flu Shot
First and foremost, getting your yearly flu shot is the best way to prevent becoming sick and spreading the virus. Contrary to what some people believe, there is no way to catch the flu from getting the flu vaccine. At most, you could experience some very mild symptoms that will end within two days. The vaccine takes up to two weeks to be effective, so you could catch the flu between getting the shot and when it comes to full efficacy. During that time, it’s important to practice good hygiene and stay away from people who are sick.
The CDC recommends that everyone six months of age and older receive the flu shot. Dr. Thomas Campbell, physician at St. Joseph Health Primary Care University Drive, says, “Young children, the elderly and immunocompromised people are most at risk of developing complications from the flu, so it is especially important for these groups to be vaccinated each year.”
Stop the Spread of Germs
Healthy habits are one of the most important ways you can stop the spread of germs in daily life. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly before and after touching food, after using the restroom and periodically throughout the day. While using hand sanitizer is good, washing hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds is the best option.
If you cough or sneeze, be sure to cover your nose and mouth. Regularly disinfect frequently used items, such as doorknobs, keyboards, and other things you touch multiple times a day. Take these basic actions, and you’ll have a big impact on reducing the spread of the flu virus for both yourself and others.
If you do get the flu this season, you can still help prevent it from spreading to others. Stay home and take any medications your doctor prescribes. Allow yourself time to rest and recover rather than forcing yourself to return to your routine too soon. Going to work with a contagious illness could seriously impact the productivity of your entire workplace in addition to directly affecting your coworkers’ lives. At home, keep anything that could be contaminated away from other family members and limit physical contact as much as possible.
If you do come down with the flu, you can trust the doctors at St. Joseph Health to get you back to better. Make an appointment with one of our primary care physicians to get your flu shot or to get treatment for this year’s flu.
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