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It’s time to grab your winter coat and bundle up for colder weather. And, just as the planet prepares for the winter, so should you by getting your annual flu shot as soon as it becomes available. Once vaccinated, protection against the flu lasts throughout the entire flu season.1
Ben Franklin once said: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Preventing the flu virus is no exception to this rule. Not only does flu prevention keep you and your family happier and healthier, it can save you missed days at work and keep you out of the hospital.
Along with getting an annual flu shot, the CDC recommends the following flu prevention strategies:2
– Wash your hands frequently with good ol’ soap and water to prevent the spread of germs. Remember, you must use a generous amount of friction and scrub for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water isn’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
– Keep your distance by avoiding close contact with people who are sick. This is even more important if you have a chronic illness like COPD. Being around sick people only increases the likelihood that you’ll get sick too.
– Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze. Remember to discard it afterward and then re-wash or re-sanitize your hands. If tissue is unavailable, cough or sneeze in the crook of your arm.
– Stay home from work when you’re sick. This is particularly true if you have a fever. Dragging yourself into the office when you’re ill not only makes you more run down, but it puts your co-workers at risk, as well.
– Steer clear of touching your eyes, nose or mouth unless you’ve just washed or sanitized your hands. Germs make their way into your body after you’ve touched an object that’s been contaminated and then you touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
– Preserve your health by eating a balanced diet, getting plenty of rest and exercise and drinking enough fluids. Keep your home and work area germ-free by frequently sanitizing high-traffic areas, especially when people are sick.
Remember, if you do get sick with the flu to contact your health care provider as soon as possible. Your oxygen requirement may change in times of sickness.
1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. What you should know for the 2013-2014 Influenza Season. Updated May, 2013.
2Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Preventing the Flu: Good Health Habits Can Help Stop Germs. Updated November, 2010.