November 19, 2013

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Prevent The Flu

The big chill has arrived… and with it comes the dreaded flu season!

Since we know how important it is for you and your loved ones to remain healthy this flu season, we’re sharing a few tips that will help you understand what the flu is, how you can prevent it, what the symptoms are, and what you can do if you or a loved one gets sick.

The flu, also known as influenza, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses. It affects people very differently, with some only experiencing a mild illness, while others contract a more serious case that can lead to a hospital stay or death.

So what can you do to prevent this nasty virus?

  • Get vaccinated – The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is to get the flu vaccine. To locate a clinic near you, visit the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services website and enter your zip code into their Flu Vaccine Finder.
  • Avoid close contact – If you encounter sick people at work or school, try to avoid close contact with them so that you do not become infected with the virus.
  • Wash your hands – To prevent the spread of germs, wash your hands regularly with warm, soapy water.
  • Don’t touch – Throughout the day, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. This is how germs spread.

But that’s not all. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also recommends you:

  • Keep it healthy – To boost your immunity to the virus, get plenty of sleep and exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat healthy food.
  • Keep it covered – If you develop a cough or sneeze, remember to cover your nose and mouth with a tissue. Be sure to throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Keep it clean – Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs.

So how do you know if you have the flu?

Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may experience vomiting and diarrhea. It is also possible to have respiratory symptoms without a fever.

If you experience any of the above symptoms, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is no longer present – and without the aid of fever-reducing medicine.

And while you are sick, try to limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. Your friends, family and co-workers will thank you!

For more information about the flu, visit the CDC’s website.