6 ways to protect yourself from the flu

6 ways to protect yourself from the flu

Flu season is here. From the months of September through January, influenza is on the rise. But it is not too late to protect yourself and your community. Influenza spreads through droplets that form when a person talks, sneezes or coughs. So, what should you do to prevent getting the flu this season?

  1. First and foremost, get your flu shot: The flu shot, also known as the influenza vaccine, is a key preventive measure against the latest variants of this year’s seasonal flu. It creates an immune response to produce antibodies that learn to fight the flu, keeping your symptoms mild if you do get the flu this season. “September and October are the best months to get the flu shot, before flu season is at its highest peak,” says Dr. Sunitha Gundamraj, an internal medicine physician at Aurora Health Care.
  2. Wash your hands well and often: Washing your hands with soap and water protects you against the germs you pick up at work, the grocery store, gas station and everywhere else. Wash your hands for 20 seconds for the best cleansing. If soap and water are not available to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based sanitizer as a substitute.
  3. Cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow: If you feel the urge to cough or sneeze, make sure to not cough into your hand. Instead, do so in a tissue or into your elbow. This keeps your hands germ free and may prevent those around you from getting sick.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth: “You pass germs when you touch a surface like a desk, magazine or a pen that has someone else’s droplets who is sick with the flu. Then when you touch your nose, mouth or eyes, the virus can enter your body from these locations,” says Dr. Gundamraj.
  5. Keep your distance from those that are sick: Steering clear of those who are sick protects you against the spread of influenza.
  6. Most importantly, stay home if you are sick: Staying home when you are sick protects others from getting sick. Although your symptoms may be mild, you are still contagious. Also, resting is important. Take time to take care of yourself.

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About the Author

Blair Crane
Blair Crane

Blair Crane, health enews contributor, is a public affairs coordinator for Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Missouri - Columbia and has more than six years of communication and marketing experience. Outside of work you can find her trying new restaurants and hanging out with her two cats.