Flu season is almost upon us, and now is the time to take action and stay healthy. According to my favorite doctor (yes, I’m talking about my son Mathew!)
“The best way to prevent getting the flu is to get a yearly flu shot”.
I know that some years the shot is more effective than other years, but still, the flu shot is more effective than the other good things that we all do:
• Wash hands with soap and water. This might seem basic, but it is one of the most effective ways to prevent the spread of many illnesses. Remember to wash hands before, during and after preparing food and before eating meals or snacks, as well as before and after tending to someone who is sick. Wash hands every time after using the toilet, blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing, touching garbage, petting animals or changing a diaper.Cover coughs with a tissue or your elbow to reduce germs in the air that others in the home might breathe.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are spread this way!
• Eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of clear liquids.
• Get plenty of sleep and exercise.
• Take off your shoes at the door of your home, and keep germs out!
• Avoid people who have the flu or colds whenever possible. People with the flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
• Change shared hand towels in the home regularly. If someone in the home is ill and washing their hands frequently, provide a specific hand towel for them and replace it daily or consider using disposable paper towels for a short time.
• Clean and disinfect common household surfaces and objects where germs can easily be transmitted from one member of the household to another. Use antibacterial wipes, solutions or homemade disinfectants to regularly wipe down commonly touched surfaces from door knobs to light switches. Don’t forget about phones, handrails, remote controls and game controllers, ear buds and headphones, the refrigerator and microwave door handles, toilet and faucet handles, computer keyboards and tablet screens.
• After someone has recovered from illness, replace their toothbrush, and make sure to house it away from the rest of the family's brushes during their illness.
• Use natural remedies such as herbal teas and chicken soup.
I got my flu shot today, and I hope you get yours soon too. Why do it now? Do it for your family and for those around you who might have weak immune systems. Do it for the young and for the seniors that you come in contact with. Do it for your doctor who has to face a world of germs as he and she keep us all healthy. Let’s stay healthy this winter!
Your friend, Jackie
If you are healthy but exposed to a person with the flu, antiviral drugs can prevent you from getting sick. Antiviral medications are prescription pills, liquids, or inhalers used to prevent or treat flu viruses. They are approved for adults and children one year and older. There are four antiviral drugs approved for treating the flu in the United States—oseltamivir (Tamiflu), zanamivir (Relenza), amantadine (Symmetrel), and rimantadine (Flumadine). The sooner you are treated with an antiviral, the more likely it will prevent the flu. According to flu.gov. antiviral drugs are 70% to 90% effective at preventing the flu. Talk to your health care provider if you think you need antiviral drugs.
If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.