Learn how to protect yourself and loved ones
Thousands of people in the U.S. die from flu-related complications each year. The experts at Citrus Memorial Hospital offer these cold and flu season tips to help keep you healthy.
"A lot of people think that getting your flu shot is a sort of cure-all for the entire season," says Citrus Primary Care physician Dr Ghassan Hassan. "But there are many other easy habits to pick up that can also help."
Employ these tips to help you survive this season:
- Get some air. "We tend to stay indoors in the warm heat during the cold season, but, ironically, this creates a kind of stagnant environment where germs can linger in the air after being sneezed or coughed out," says Hassan. Opening a window can help get some airflow through the house that's more likely to carry germs away from occupants.
- Get a grip. Chewing nervously on your fingernails or rubbing your eyes may seem like harmless fidgeting, but they are quick ways to pass germs around. "Try to keep hand sanitizer nearby and make notes to yourself to stop biting your nails or picking at your skin if you need to," offers Hassan.
- Get soapy. "It's such a simple thing to do, washing your hands," says Hassan, "but we often forget this most basic habit can be one of the most effective means of controlling the spread of germs."
- Get a routine. Spring cleaning is great, but be sure you hit germ hot-spots with antibacterial cleaners all year long. "Some places to watch out for are handles and door knobs, remote and game controls and toys." says Hassan.
- Get a vacation. "If you're pregnant, young or old, you really need to get the flu vaccine," Hassan cautions, "but the truth is the vaccine is for almost everyone. Talk to your doctor right away before the season gets too far in and see what vaccines you might need and be eligible for."
Remember, if you're sick already, make responsible choices like staying home from work or school. If you think you might be sick, see your doctor or get to the emergency room if you have a serious fever or severe dehydration.