Updated: Jul 7
1. Get the vaccine! The flu shot works! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against influenza (flu) and its potentially serious complications. Flu vaccination can reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations. Vaccination also is important for health care workers, and other people who live with or care for high risk people to keep from spreading the flu to them. Flu shots are available at many locations and are free with most insurances and Medicare. No insurance? This list provides information on where to go for low cost shots.
Walgreens, CVS. and Publix all provide free flu shots with insurance.
This flu season some Publix stores are also giving out $10 gift cards to those that get the flu shot at their Pharmacy.
2. Hand washing! Hand washing! Hand washing! Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Regular hand washing is one of the best ways to remove germs, avoid getting sick, and prevent the spread of germs to others.
3. Stay home! Avoid contact with others who are sick or if you are sick. If this is unavoidable, cover coughs and/or sneezes with a tissue or upper arm (try to sneeze or cough into your armpit), throw out tissue immediately after use or have a designated container for used tissue nearby, wash hands routinely (yeah we said it again), and routinely clean surfaces that may have been exposed to germs.
4. Go to the doctor soon! If you think you may be sick with the flu, talk to a doctor about taking antiviral drugs to treat your illness. Antiviral drugs are most effective when they are prescribed within the first two days of the onset of symptoms, so you have to go soon. Antiviral drugs are different from antibiotics; which are used to treat bacterial infections. They are prescription medicines (pills, liquid or an inhaled powder) and are not available over-the-counter. Antiviral drugs can make symptoms milder and may shorten the length of time you are sick. They may also prevent serious flu complications.
5. Talk about it! Talk to friends and family about ways they can help prevent the spread of the flu. Encourage friends, loved ones, and coworkers to get a flu shot or to stay home if they feel sick. Help spread the information, not the flu. The flu ends with YOU!
This blog post was written by Volcano Consulting, LLC intern, Nicole Elinoff. Nicole is earning a Master of Public Health from the University of South Florida.
For more information on preventing the flu this flu season, check out the CDC’s website.