It’s November, and fall is in full swing. That means we are also right in the middle of flu season. Flu season typically is said to begin in October and continues until May. While many people are still extra vigilant about Covid, some might be neglecting to be as vigilant about the flu. While avoiding the coronavirus is a great goal to strive for, you should also be prepared to avoid the seasonal flu. Keep reading this article to discover how to best protect yourself and your family from influenza.
What to know about Influenza (the flu):
Influenza is a respiratory infection that can spread very easily in the community, and typically “makes the rounds” between Fall and Spring. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, body aches, headache and fatigue. All humans are vulnerable to catching the flu, and catching the virus can be especially dangerous if caught by children, pregnant women or our elders over age 65. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the 2018-2019 flu season (a “moderate” year for influenza), the US experienced 35.5 million influenza cases, with 490,600 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths related to influenza.
How can you protect your family?
- Get vaccinated! Getting a flu shot is the best way to protect yourself from influenza. Every family member over six months old is eligible to get a vaccine, and should get vaccinated if they are able to get the shot. Some people have various health conditions that may make receiving the vaccine inadvisable. But the vast majority of the population will benefit from receiving the jab.
While its best to get the shot at the start of flu season, you can still get the shot and be protected throughout the winter months when flu season is at its peak. Get the shot now, before flu season starts in the fall. You must get vaccinated every year, since the viruses that cause the flu change yearly and vaccine makers adjust the flu shot each year so it has the highest chance of providing protection against the strains of the virus circulating each year.
- Receiving a flu shot is very safe and it’s important to know that the shot cannot cause you to catch the flu. In 2018-2019, vaccination coverage among adults was estimated at 45.3%.
- Wash your hands regularly. You should always wash your hands, but during flu season it’s even more important to be diligent. Wash your hands several times a day with soap and warm water.
- Keep your home and workspace clean so the virus cannot hide on household and workplaces surfaces you encounter. Use disinfectants to regularly clean and sanitize any surfaces and objects that people frequently touch. You should avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth when handling shared objects as this increases the chances of catching the virus..
- Avoid close contact with anyone showing signs of an infection. One of the reasons why the flu is such a concern to society is because Influenza is highly contagious and speads easily in a community. If you know that someone is feeling sick, avoid close physical interaction as a rule to prevent the virus being passed on to you.
- Be hypervigilant about the virus. Getting vaccinated is not a guarantee that you won’t catch the flu. Use your head, and good common sense, to navigate flu season while staying healthy.
If you have any questions about flu shots or how you can stay safe this flu season, contact Total Care Medical Centers today.