Flu is currently widespread in most of the United States, but it’s not too late to take measures to reduce your risk of getting the flu. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting yourself against the flu,” states Wicomico County Health Office Lori Brewster. “Everyone 6 months of age and older can be vaccinated,” Brewster continues, “and this is particularly important for people at high risk of serious complications such as young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and people 65 years and older.”
Another important step according to Brewster is to take everyday preventative actions. These include:
· Avoid close contact with sick people.
· While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them.
· If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities (your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine).
· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, and throw away the tissue in the trash after you use it.
· Wash your hands often with soap and water. If they are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to keep germs from spreading.
· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.
A third step to prevent flu is to take antiviral drugs if you get the flu and your doctor prescribes them. These prescription drugs are different from antibiotics and can make illness milder and shorter. Brewster says, “Getting treated can prevent serious flu complications.”
Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea, or not have a fever.
For more information about the flu, visit wicomicohealth.org.