Plan Now for Flu Season | Health Eagle

Plan Now for Flu Season

by Lori Sciame August 22nd, 2011 | Diseases
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As summer draws to a close, remember that fall brings unwelcome visitors – coughs, sniffles, aches, and fevers. Yes, flu season is just around the corner. Don’t be caught off guard this year; prepare now in order to be ready when this common illness surfaces again.

Get Vaccinated

Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) doesn’t know exactly which virus will be the main cause of seasonal influenza this year, they have a good idea which one will likely be the culprit. They recommend “…a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season.”

While flu season generally peaks during January and February each year, it can appear as early as October, and last as late as May. Most local health departments begin offering the vaccination in early to mid October. You can also choose to get the shot at your doctor’s office, or even at your local pharmacy. If you don’t have insurance, making a few phone calls will help you find the best price.

You should know that if the CDC doesn’t pick the exact strain of the virus that ends up circulating in 2011 and 2012, you still will have some protection from it if you have a flu vaccination. They explain, “A less than ideal match may result in reduced vaccine effectiveness against the variant viruses, but it can still provide some protection against influenza illness.”

Think Prevention

In addition to recommending the flu vaccine to prevent the disease, the CDC says that other steps are necessary as well. First and foremost, become an expert hand washer. Keep your hands clean by using soap and warm water, and remember to wash them frequently. If soap and water are not available, you can also use an alcohol-based hand lotion designed to kill germs. Next, stay away from sick people, and if you are sick yourself, do not go to work.

Other ways to stay well (and to keep others healthy):
1. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with your fingers.
2. Sneeze and cough into a tissue or into your sleeve if no tissue is available.
3. Eat a healthy diet, including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
4. Get plenty of sleep to make sure your immune system is not worn down.
5. Clean common surfaces, such as door knobs and telephones, frequently when someone in your household is sick.

Buy Supplies

Just in case, buy the following supplies now. They are great to have on hand if you come down with the seasonal flu. (This advice is for ADULTS only).

1. Humidifier – Moist air may make a sick person with congestion breathe easier.
2. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen – These medicines work wonder in reducing fevers in adults.
3. Cough syrup and lozenges – Adults can treat coughs and sore throats with medicines.
4. And plenty of tissues!

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All health and medical information is provided for educational purposes and is not meant to replace the medical advice or treatment of your healthcare professional.