With the emergence of flu season, running noses, sniffling, fevers, and coughs seem to be taking hold of everyone we know. These symptoms coupled with the flu’s other side effects, make it a nuisance to all of its sufferers. So this year, don’t let the flu stop you!
The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for anyone older than six months old to help protect against this serious virus. This year’s flu shot is designed to protect against the three main flu strains—the H3N2 virus, the influenza B virus and the H1N1 virus, which were responsible for affecting the most people last season. Protection from the shot will last throughout the entire flu season.
In addition to getting vaccinated, there are everyday actions you can take to prevent getting the flu. Since the virus is spread mainly person to person by sneezing or coughing, be sure to:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, because germs spread that way.
- Stay home if you get sick, and limit contact with others to keep from spreading.
Many people are hesitant about getting flu shots because they think it will make them feel sick or that they’ll suffer flu-like-symptoms. However, a flu shot cannot cause the flu. In these cases, one may have been exposed to influenza viruses before getting the vaccine or caught one of the viruses during the two-week period that it takes the body to gain protection after being vaccinated. These instances may result in a person becoming sick with the flu before their immune system can create enough antibodies to fight the virus off. One may also become sick with flu-like symptoms from other non-flu viruses that circulate during the season. Fear of catching the flu from the flu shot should not be a concern, nor prevent you from getting yours this season.
With the flu shot and these other tips to stay healthy during flu season—put your tissues away, and enjoy being healthy!