Influenza (commonly called the flu) is highly contagious and can occur in children or adults of any age. Flu season usually occurs during the winter months because it’s when people tend to spend more time in close contact with one another.
The flu is spread easily from person to person by coughing, sneezing, or touching surfaces.
With the flu season fast approaching, Health Net is here to provide you with information on how to best protect yourself and your loved ones.
How to fight the flu
There are many different flu viruses circulating throughout the United States, and they are constantly changing. Since flu vaccines are reviewed annually, they are updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses.
Flu vaccines can protect you against the three or four viruses that research suggests will be most common for that year.
Though there’s no guarantee that you won’t catch the flu, you should follow the following three-step approach recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to provide you and your loved ones with the most protection possible against the flu virus.
1. Get a flu vaccination each year.
- Everyone 6 months of age and older should get a flu vaccine every year before flu activity begins in their community. The CDC recommends getting vaccinated by the end of October.
- Children younger than 6 months are at high risk of serious flu illness, but are too young to be vaccinated. People who care for infants should be vaccinated instead.
- People at high risk of serious flu complications include young children, pregnant women, people with certain chronic health conditions like asthma, diabetes or heart and lung disease, and people 65 years and older.
2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
- If you are sick with flu symptoms, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth as it’s easy for germs to spread this way.
3. Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.
- Antiviral drugs can make illness milder and shorten the time you are sick.
- Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. Some people may also have vomiting and diarrhea.
Here are some tips that might help you fight the flu:
- Rest – Getting enough rest can help your body heal faster and helps prevent the spreading of germs.
- Fluids – Drink enough fluids so that you do not become dehydrated.
- Eat fruits and veggies – Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to help keep your immune system working at its best.
Take charge of your health and be prepared this flu season!
Please note: This information is not a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care provider’s instructions. Consult your doctor for questions or concerns about your health.