Don't Let the Flu Keep You Down
6 Things You Can Do to Prevent It
Flu season is here, but there are steps you can take to avoid it, lessen its severity and keep from passing it on to those who you come in contact with each day.
- Wash your hands often. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Wash your hands after using the restroom, before preparing food, after being in public areas, and before and after caring for a sick person.
- Cover when you cough or sneeze. Cough into the bend in your elbow, and cover your nose when you sneeze. If you use tissues, throw them away immediately – and then wash your hands.
- Don't touch your face. The flu can attack you through your mouth, nose and eyes. It's a good idea to keep your hands away from those areas, especially when you are out in public.
- Stay home from work or school if you have any flu-like symptoms or don't feel well. Flu-like symptoms include having a fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and a constant, dry cough. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recommends that you stay at home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.
- Eat healthy. Your immune system helps keep illnesses away. One way to help keep your immune system healthy is to make sure you eat the right things.
- Get the flu vaccine. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for everyone over the age of 6 months. The flu strain you get might be slightly different than what is in the vaccine, but the vaccine might make the flu milder for you. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective.
If You Get Sick
- For both adults and children, antiviral medications can lessen the severity of the flu, but you must start taking it within 48 hours after you get sick for it to work. Your provider can prescribe the appropriate medicine for children and adults. Since the flu is a virus, antibiotics will not be effective.
- Get plenty of rest. Remember, the flu can last up to 10 days.
- Drink fluids to stay hydrated.
- Take pain relievers to relieve muscle aches; children should not take aspirin.
- Take cough medicine to loosen up any congestion in your chest.