Keep Germs to Yourself: Tips for Cold and Flu Season

It’s cold and flu season again, so you should probably get out your handkerchief and be prepared to spend a few days in bed, right? Not necessarily!

There are a few simple things you can do to reduce your risk of getting sick:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating, or use hand sanitizer if you can’t get to a sink.
  • Avoid shaking hands with others, especially those who have been sick recently.
  • Avoid touching your nose or eyes, two common places for germs to get in.
  • Get a flu shot early. Many places are free and don’t require appointments.
  • Keep working surfaces, telephones and computers clean by using cleansers designed for these items.

If you do start to feel ill, cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough. Then, wash your hands to avoid spreading germs to others.

 

Did You Know: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, five to 20 percent of the population catches the flu each year. To beat the odds, eat well, get plenty of rest and wash your hands frequently to shoo the flu bug away!

 

Now is the time to get vaccinated against the flu. Read on for more information about the 2017-2018 seasonal flu vaccine:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine each year.
  • Only injectable flu vaccines are recommended for the 2017-2018 season. Your doctor can tell you which is available and most appropriate for you. The nasal vaccine is not recommended this year.
  • Vaccines protect against both Type A strains of influenza (H1N1 and H3N2) and a Type B strain. Both trivalent (three component) and quadrivalent (four component) flu vaccines will be available during the 2017-2018 flu season. The quadrivalent vaccines also protect against the additional Type B strain.
  • Getting a flu vaccine will not make you sick, but you may have minor side effects that mirror flu symptoms, lasting one to two days.

You should get the flu vaccine as soon as it is available in your area. However, if you haven’t gotten vaccinated yet, it is not too late—influenza activity can continue even into April or May.

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