The holidays are almost here, and there is nothing worse than being home for the holidays battling the flu. Even though only about 5-20% of people in the U.S. get the flu each year, the virus can be dangerous for elderly people, newborns, or individuals with chronic illness. Luckily for all of us, there are some things we can do keep from catching the virus. Read on to find out how to protect yourself this winter.
The flu is a respiratory infection caused by several viruses that travel through the air and enter your body through your nose or mouth. Flu symptoms tend to come on suddenly are usually worse than your typical common cold symptoms. Here’s what to look for if suspect the flu:
- Achy muscles / body aches
- Sore throat
Guard yourself against catching the virus this holiday season with these tips from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):
- Getting an annual flu vaccine reduces your chances of getting the flu and spreading it to other people
- The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get an annual flu vaccine
- Getting the flu vaccination can reduce doctors’ visits, and missing work or school because of the flu, and can also reduce hospitalizations related to the flu
- Avoid close contact with people who are already sick; when you’re sick, limit your contact with others so you don’t infect them
- If you do have flu symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever goes away
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and immediately throw that tissue away!
- Remember to wash your hands regularly with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer, especially after you use a tissue to blow your nose
- Germs spread by touching your eyes, nose, and mouth so try to avoid touching those areas
- Clean and disinfect your work or study space regularly
- Check out flu.gov for flu basics, vaccine information, flu Q&A, and much more
We wish you a safe and healthy (and flu-free) holiday season!