There’s nothing quite like the weather in…February? And although everyone seems to be enjoying the spontaneous springtime weather, it’s important to remember that we’re still in the peak of flu season. Given such, it’s vital to take the right steps to prevent catching the virus.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has outlined three simple actions you, and those closest to you, are urged to follow – starting with getting a flu vaccine. In reality, I’m sure we all know people who forego the recommended yearly vaccine. However, due to the various flu viruses attainable, the vaccination plays a major role in reducing flu-related hospitalizations, illnesses, and missed time. This is especially the case for people with chronic health conditions, pregnant women, and children; as they are at higher risk of the flu. Though one may be averse to needles, that’s nothing your favorite song or podcast can’t get you through.
The second action is simple: take preventive measures to stop the spread of germs. These are common courtesy factoids such as the following:
- Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing or coughing
- Wash your hands with soap and water
- Stay home if you’re sick/avoid close contact with people who are sick
Along with avoiding touching facial features to deter germ spread, it’s wise you keep a bottle of sanitizer handy, and a few wipes for good measure.
Finally, the last method is if you do contract the flu, you may need to take flu antiviral drugs, as prescribed by your doctor. And, if you have not had a flu vaccine but have had close contact with someone that has the flu, your doctor may also recommend antiviral drugs.
Studies show that antiviral drugs garner the best results when started within two days of getting sick or being exposed to the flu virus. Therefore, in the unfortunate case that you contract the flu, or you are unvaccinated and have been in close contact with someone that has the flu, it’s best to reach out to your doctor immediately and follow his or her instructions to best treat your illness.
Your doctor can help figure out a treatment plan to help you get good and healthy once the true springtime weather rolls around!
Dr. Randi Protter is a physician at R-Health Ewing.