If you don’t make an effort to prevent it, odds are that you’ll catch the flu this season.
For most of us it means a couple of weeks out of work or school, then life goes back to normal. But the flu can be serious, even deadly, if you have a health condition like asthma, heart disease, diabetes, or a weakened immune system.
The trick is not to get sick in the first place. Here are proven ways to avoid the flu.
Know the Vaccine Types
The flu “shot” contains a dead virus. One kind that’s approved for people 6 months and older goes straight into the muscle. Another uses a smaller needle that only goes into the top layer of your skin. It’s available for people aged 18 to 64.
The nasal spray, FluMist, contains a live but weakened form of the virus. It’s approved for those between 2 and 49 who are healthy, not allergic to the flu vaccine, and not pregnant. It is not recommended for the 2017-2018 flu season.
Egg-free vaccines are for people between 18 and 49 who have severe egg allergies. If your allergy is severe, you should get the flu shot from a doctor who can treat a severe allergic reaction — either at your doctor’s office, a hospital, a clinic, or a health department. Many children with egg allergies are at risk for complications from the flu, so it’s important for them to get the flu shot.
Fluzone is a high-dose version for those 65 and older. It’s better at protecting an older person’s immune system.
Build a Germ Barrier
You can also pick it up from touching a surface — like the restaurant table where a sick person dined before you. Flu germs can linger on places like tables, counters, desks, doorknobs, and faucets for up to 8 hours.
Easier said than done to just avoid sick people. If you can’t steer clear of the virus, at least use good hygiene to create a barrier against flu germs.
- Wash your hands with warm water and soap every time you shake hands or touch a surface that might be germ-covered.
- Carry an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with you for times when you can’t get to a sink.
- Bring along disinfectant wipes to clean any surfaces you’re about to touch.
- Take extra care to not touch your mouth, eyes, or nose without washing your hands first.
Sharing is wonderful, but not during flu season. Be stingy with your utensils, plates, glasses, and anything else you touch with your mouth. Wash used dishes and utensils in the dishwasher or in the sink with hot water and soap.
Take Care of Yourself
If you want your immune system to be in good enough shape to fight off the flu and other germs, you need to stay healthy.
All these will give your body the strength it needs to fend off an influenza attack.
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