This year’s flu season is already the most widespread on record!
Flu cases typically start to increase in October, peaking in and February and decreasing in March and April. However, flu season started early this year and with the exception of Hawaii, the entire country is experiencing widespread and intense flu activity.
Here are 7 ways to avoid the flu this year…
#1 GET A FLU SHOT
IS IT TOO LATE TO GET THE FLU SHOT? Definitely not. And if you decide to get one, do it sooner rather than later. It takes up to two weeks to produce a full immune response. The vaccine can reduce illness and prevent flu-related hospitalizations. The young, elderly, pregnant and chronically ill are most at risk for the flu and are recommended to be vaccinated. Even getting the flu shot cannot guarantee you avoid the flu but it can reduce the severity of it.
#2 WATCH FOR SYMPTOMS IN CHILDREN AND THE ELDERLY
Watch if your kids or parents aren’t drinking, are really lethargic, have pain in a specific place in their chest or are having difficulty breathing after normal activity, such as going upstairs. Also, if they are getting better and suddenly get worse, bring them in to the hospital right away, because this could be a sign of a secondary bacterial infection. The sooner you bring them to the hospital for treatment, the better.
#3 PREVENT THE SPREAD OF GERMS
The single most important thing to do to avoid the flu is prevent the spread of germs. Wash your hands frequently, soap up between your fingers and don’t forget your thumbs, and scrub for about 20 seconds.
#4 REPLACE TOOTHBRUSHES
If anyone gets sick, separate their toothbrush from everyone else’s. Replace that toothbrush once they’re better.
#5 CLEAN YOUR BED SHEETS
Launder bedding frequently in hot water and bath towels every day or two. It even helps to wash just the pillowcases every few days.
#6 KEEP YOUR HUMIDIFIER CLEAN
Be sure your humidifier is clean. Humidifiers will help soothe nasal passages and sinuses, especially if there is chest congestion and coughing. Frequently humidifiers are used when families are sick so be sure to empty it once a day and wipe it dry. Clean it thoroughly once a week to avoid germs breeding and spraying throughout the room.
#7 SANITIZE REMOTES AND MORE!
Don’t forget to clean off all remotes. Flu patients will most likely be sprawled out on the couch sniffling, coughing and pretty much feeling sorry for themselves while they watch TV. Those remotes will be germ magnets. Clean them carefully. Have a container of anti-bacterial wipes handy so you can clean those remotes, light switches and doorknobs daily. You may even want to line a wastebasket with a plastic bag for used tissues and wipes and empty it daily.
WHAT TREATMENTS ARE THERE FOR THE FLU?
The best treatment for more severe cases is Tamiflu. It can lessen symptoms and decrease the duration of it. Patients should be treated as soon as possible with antiviral drugs. That is people 65 and older, young children, people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease or asthma, and pregnant women and others more vulnerable to serious flu illness.
Hopefully you and your family can avoid the flu altogether by getting a flu vaccine but if you should start to feel some symptoms, get to the ER as soon as possible for treatment. Using the tips above may help alleviate the severity and keep it from spreading to other family members. And remember; keep your kids, spouse and yourself at home if you’re feeling sick. If we all do that, maybe we can lessen the number of cases that spread to others!
Your health matters to us. If you have any questions concerning this post, call us at:
(248) 357-3100 today. We’re always happy to hear from our awesome patients!