Flu season, much like winter, can come at you pretty hard. On top of bundling up and preparing for the cold, now you have to watch out for the spread of germs that run rampant around the same time of year. Millions are affected by influenza, or the flu, each year. Some may be hospitalized for their symptoms and a few of those people might even die from effects of the flu. That’s why knowing how to avoid the flu and protect yourself is so important.
The feeling of a running nose, fever, cough, and maybe even nausea can overwhelm you to the point where you start wondering how you could have prevented catching the flu in the first place. While there have been significant medical advances since the first recorded cases and subsequent pandemics affected by influenza, there are no guarantees unless you take precautionary steps to protect yourself.
Take preventive steps
While the flu shot isn’t perfect and it’s not guaranteed to protect you against the flu, it will safeguard you to some extent. It’s important to note that the flu shot can only help prevent the flu before you catch it, and cannot treat the flu once you have become infected. Talk to your doctor about getting the flu shot every year, just in case.
Avoid close contact with sick people
This is often easier said than done, but if at all possible, avoid contact with people that have gotten the flu. Wear a mask at home if it is someone in your family, if need be. If a friend has fallen ill, do not try to go visit them. This will only put you at risk for their germs. Most importantly of all, avoid hospitals for non-emergent conditions. Hospitals during flu season are overrun with germs and people spreading them, and visiting a hospital for a sprained ankle could put you in the line of fire. Instead opt to see your primary care physician, if you can.
Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes
The spread of flu germs can only be done through your eyes, nose, and mouth. This means sharing drinks or food with someone who might have symptoms, kissing, shaking hands and then rubbing your eye, etc. Anytime you do need to touch your eye to put in a contact, after sneezing or before eating, make sure you’re germ free.
Wash your hands often
We can’t stress this enough! Soap and warm water and at least a minute of thorough hand washing will make a huge difference to stop the spread of flu germs. You spend every day opening public doors and touching public surfaces in close quarters with family members, friends, and coworkers. Make sure any chance you get, especially after sneezing, coughing or before eating, you wash those hands well.
Understanding how the flu is spread is actually a huge benefit. Imagine if everybody was so vigilant about avoiding the spread of flu germs! If you want to talk to your doctor about your preventive flu options, or suspect you might be infected with the flu, talk to the medical experts at SC Internal Medicine Associates & Rehabilitation immediately. Call us at (803) 749-1111 for an appointment at our office in Irmo, SC today.