As we progress through the winter months, it often seems like everyone is sneezing, coughing, and weighed down by seasonal illness. The most prominent flu strain in the U.S. this year, H3N2, has historically caused more severe symptoms for children and elderly individuals, so it’s especially important to protect yourself, and those closest to you, from infection this season. Here, we outline some steps you can take to prevent yourself from getting sick, and to limit the spread of infection if you do come down with the flu.
Get your flu vaccine.
The number one thing you can do to protect yourself from infection is to get your flu shot. While the vaccine is most effective if you can get it during the Fall months, before flu season is in full swing, infections typically continue through March, so it is not too late! Ask your doctor at your next appointment, or make an appointment at a local pharmacy offering vaccinations.
Avoid contact with others.
While it can be a challenge to limit contact with loved ones and take time away from work, if someone you see often begins exhibiting flu-like symptoms it is safest to keep your distance, so you don’t spread the infection further. If you are sick, make sure you stay home and avoid contact until you’re feeling better. Your friends and colleagues will thank you for protecting their health!
Wash your hands.
Keeping your hands clean can prevent the spread of germs. Try to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds each time and, if soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
Try not to touch your face.
Germs can get into your eyes, nose and mouth if you touch your face frequently and this contact will cause infection if your hands have touched anything contaminated with flu germs.
Keep yourself healthy!
Prioritizing quality sleep, regular exercise or movement, water consumption and a nutritious diet can do wonders for keeping you and your immune system healthy. Try to find a routine that makes you feel your best and keeps seasonal illness at bay.
Avoiding the flu shouldn’t feel like rocket science! Get your vaccine if you haven’t yet, and practice good hygiene and healthy habits to stay strong and well as we get through these remaining months of flu season.