With fall comes amazing things like pumpkins, changing leaves and apple cider. Unfortunately, our beloved autumn also marks the beginning of the icky cold and flu season. While the seasonal flu virus doesn’t typically peak until January or February, there are a few measures you can take now to help avoid getting sick this year. Play it smart this season with these stay-healthy tips.
1. Get a flu shot. Sure, this one may sound obvious. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), less than one-half of all Americans (42 percent) took this simple, effective step during the 2011-2012 cold and flu season. One recent study from the CDC and Vanderbilt University Medical Center revealed that a flu shot during that same time reduced the risk of flu-related hospitalization by 71.4 percent among adults. It’s recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot each year. However, it’s especially important for people who are more susceptible to the flu, such as the elderly, pregnant women, those with chronic health conditions, and children under the age of five. Health plans such as LifeWise make it easy by offering in-pharmacy shots with little or no upfront cost.
To find a location near you where you can get vaccinated, go the Health Map Vaccine Finder.
2. Wash your hands often with soap and water. Contracting the flu is as easy as touching a surface or object that has the virus on it, and then touching your mouth, eyes or nose. Do your best to keep these traveling germs at bay by washing your hands often.
3. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze. Not only will this help prevent the spread of your germs to others, but if everyone puts this rule into practice, you don’t have to worry about coming into contact with their germs either.
4. Be healthy. The stronger your immune system is, the better prepared you’ll be to fight off a cold or the flu. To stay strong, make sure you exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and a get plenty of rest.
5. Wipe away germs. Germs seem to stick to everything. Regularly clean and disinfect objects and surfaces in your home and office that are frequently touched, such as doorknobs, phones, faucets and keyboards.
6. Stay home! If you’re experiencing flu-like symptoms, take a sick day or two. Don’t go back to work until you’re feeling better. The same thing goes for your kids and school. By staying home and waiting the sickness out, you’ll be doing yourself – and your coworkers – a big favor.
Got any other good flu-fighting tips? If so, please share them in the comments below.