by Acquaviva’s Pharmacy / Palm Bay, Fl
As summer winds down and fall begins there is so much to look forward to- cooler weather, football season, comfort food and school activities. The downside to fall is the realization that flu season is approaching. In the United States, up to 20% of the population will contract the flu and more than 200,000 people will be hospitalized due to flu-related complications. However, there are many ways to protect yourself from the flu.
The single most effective way to prevent the flu is to get an influenza vaccine (flu shot). The vaccination is effective through the flu season, but yearly vaccination is necessary and the most important step in protecting yourself from the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends all persons aged six months or older receive annual influenza vaccinations. It is especially important those people with chronic medical conditions, pregnant women, people 65 years and older, and those working in health care receive a flu vaccine.
In order to prevent the spread of the flu virus, hand washing with soap or using alcohol-based hand sanitizer is imperative. During the flu season, it is also important to avoid touching your face. The flu virus can easily enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth. If you do come down with a cold or the flu, do not use your hands to cover your cough or sneezes. Instead, use a tissue or the inside of your elbow. Further, if you do have a cold or the flu, avoid contact with other people and stay home from work while sick.
Staying healthy through good lifestyle habits may also prevent you from contracting the flu. These habits include: regular aerobic exercise, decreasing smoking and alcohol consumption, management of stress, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Although it is impossible to avoid the flu, there are a few things you can do to help prevent getting the flu or spreading it to others. Getting a flu shot, practicing good hygiene, avoiding others with the flu, and good lifestyle choices is the best proactive approach to prevent the flu.