Fall and winter bring rounds of colds and the flu to schools, workplaces and homes. Are you prepared? Here’s how we can all take steps to prevent ourselves and others from getting sick.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot. The vaccine can not only keep you healthy but can also help prevent the spread of the flu virus. Since the flu can be especially dangerous to elderly and immunocompromised patients, you could be saving a life — possibly your own — by getting vaccinated. Have questions? Your health care professional can tell you more.
Keep Your Distance
If you can, stay at least 3 feet away from sick people, as viruses are spread by coughing, sneezing and even talking. Since flu-infected people leave germs everywhere, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth throughout cold and flu season unless you’ve just washed your hands. Skip large gatherings during serious outbreaks.
Avoid contracting and spreading germs by washing your hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soap and water. And at least once a day, clean frequently touched and shared home objects like light switches, handles, doorknobs, faucets, remotes, toys and keyboards. Use a disinfectant cleaner and follow its instructions carefully.
Know When to Retreat
If you do get the flu, don’t go to work. Avoid going out in public except to go to the doctor or to get medicine. If a healthy person can visit the pharmacy for you, that’s better. Remember, you’re contagious for about five to seven days after getting sick. If you must go out in public during this time, wear a surgical mask so you’ll spread fewer germs; it’s far better to stay home, however.