Tuesday, October 23, 2012

'Tis the Season...for the Flu

Fall is in full swing and that means influenza (flu) season is here, too. The flu is caused by viruses that infect your nose, throat and lungs. It's easily spread from person to person, so be sure to follow these tips to protect yourself and your family: 

  •   Wash your hands frequently
  •   Keep your home and office clean and disinfected
  •   Get a flu vaccination
  •   Know when to stay home from work or school

Want more details? Keep reading to learn more about how to avoid the flu this season.

Wash Your Hands
Proper hand washing can prevent the spread of colds, flu and other common illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) suggests using this technique when washing your hands: Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Rub your hands together to make a lather and continue rubbing hands for 20 seconds. Rinse well under running water.

Stay healthy this season by washing your hands in these instances:

  •   After sneezing or coughing
  •   After handling pets
  •   Before eating or touching food
  •   After using the bathroom/toilet
  •   When they are filmy, sticky or visibly dirty

Disinfect Your Home and Office
It's important to keep your home and workplace clean and disinfected to avoid spreading germs. Cleaning with soap and water removes dirt and most germs, but disinfecting actually kills germs.

Use antibacterial wipes to kill germs from commonly used spaces in your home or office. Examples include countertops, faucet handles, doorknobs, desktops, phones, computer screens and keyboards.


Get a Flu Vaccine
Everyone six months and older should get a flu vaccine. It's especially important for certain people to get the vaccine, including:

  •   People with certain medical conditions, like asthma, diabetes and
      chronic lung disease.
  •   Pregnant women.
  •   People ages 65 and older.
  •   People who live with or care for those at high risk of developing serious
      complications, such as caregivers of people with certain medical
      conditions, including asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease.

Even if you've received a flu vaccine in the past, you should get one each year. That's because flu viruses are always changing and it's possible that a new flu strain will appear each year. By getting a vaccination each year, you are getting the best protection.

Learn more about the seasonal flu vaccine by visiting the CDC website.


Know When to Stay Home
If you have symptoms of the flu, stay home from school or work until you are fever-free (without the help of fever-reducing medicine) for at least 24 hours.