Flu season is upon us, and in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are more conscious than ever about staying healthy. But how do we do that? Anytime you are near someone who is sick or touch something a sick person also touched recently, you put yourself at higher risk. Have children? The odds go up even higher, but don’t despair. There are 5 easy ways to avoid catching the flu this season!
Get a Flu Shot for You and Your Kid
There are still people who think the shot won’t help them avoid the flu. That ill-advised thinking should be a thing of the past, but it isn’t. The flu shot releases antibodies to protect you from catching the flu. It doesn’t mean you won’t contract some other strain of flu, but it will aid in keeping the symptoms mild.
An annual flu vaccination is recommended for everyone 6 months and old, with few exceptions. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated in September or October.
Avoid Sick People
This sounds impossible and it may be, but you can still avoid getting too close to sick people. The trick is to stay at least six feet away from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. The virus can pass to you in droplets as a spray of germs when a sick person sneezes and coughs, making your mouth and nose easy targets.
Do they really have the flu? You won’t know for sure if it’s allergies or just a tickle in their throat, but best practice is to back off…politely, of course.
Wash Your Hands – A lot.
Work and school environments can be the breeding ground for the flu virus to spread.
There are numerous surfaces everyone touches, and which can contain flu germs. Bathroom doors coming and going, laptops, as well as kitchen utensils and cups. Wash your hands with soap and water for several minutes each time you touch any surface another work partner may have touched.
Carry a hand sanitizer with you for those times you can’t wash. Avoid allowing anyone else to use your cell phone or computer.
Of course, if you’re working from home or your kids are going to school virtually, you won’t have to worry about this as much, but it is still recommended to wash your hands often, and teach your kids about proper handwashing techniques.
Be Good To Yourself
Keep yourself and your family as healthy as possible during flu season. Eat well and strive for a balanced, nutritious diet.
Get enough sleep. On average, 7 to 9 hours is recommended for adults to maintain a healthy immune system to fight off illness.
Regular exercise is another tip that is good for the soul and your health. Not only will exercise help to keep the flu at bay, but it is also key in warding off other common health conditions.
Take any anti-viral medication the doctor recommends should you begin to come down with the flu, and stay home to recover.
Practice What You Preach
If a tissue is not available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand. If you use a tissue, be sure to discard it immediately, especially around children. Wipe down surfaces in your home daily to prevent the spread of germs, for example, refrigerator door handles, light switches, shared landline phones, and any other surface multiple members of your family will touch.
Avoid touching common surfaces like mass transit railings, tabletops in restaurants, sporting equipment, and most importantly your own mouth, nose, and eyes.
There is no guarantee that you or your child’s body will always be able to resist the flu or its symptoms, but practice these easy ways to drastically increase your odds of avoiding the flu.
What’s New with the Flu in 2021-22?
- All flu vaccines are designed to protect against four different flu viruses.
- Flu vaccines and COVID-19 vaccines can be given at the same time.
- Licensure on one flu vaccine has changed. Flucelvax Quadrivalent is now approved for people 2 years and older.
More Information from Towson Pediatrics
For more information on the flu or the flu vaccine in 2021-22, contact Towson Pediatrics by calling (410) 769-8801.