It is that time of year again when we begin thinking of preventing the possibility of becoming infected with the Influenza Virus.
Some of the usual questions that often come up are who should get a flu shot? The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following priority groups receive the flu shot:
· Persons aged 65 years or older,
· Residents of long-term care facilities,
· Persons aged 2-64 years with a serious medical condition,
· Pregnant women,
· Children aged 6-23 months,
· Health-care personnel who provide direct patient care,
· Household contacts and out-of-home caregivers of children younger than 6 months.
Did you know that there are several steps you can take to prevent in getting the flu or lessening the pain in case you do. Here are some things to do to lessen the chances of acquiring the flu.
1. Get a flu shot. October and November are the best times to be vaccinated. You can visit your family physician, your worksite may be holding a flu clinic or you may visit one of the numerous clinics held throughout the area over the next several weeks, check the newspapers for locations and times.
2. Health experts strongly recommend washing your hands as often as possible. “You wash your hands and you cut the transmission of a bunch of diseases,” say Dr. Jeffrey Griffiths of Tufts University School of Medicine. Influenza is mostly passed hand to mouth, people sneeze and wipe their noses, then touch a microwave button. Particles from a cough land on a tabletop, only to be picked up on someone else’s fingers.
3. Use alcohol-based gel or foam hand sanitizers to destroy viruses and bacteria when soap and water is not available.
4. Lastly, if you do get sick consider staying home from work to not spread viruses to others in the workplace.
Here are some more facts you should know:
· It takes about two weeks after getting the flu shot for the antibodies to build up. During that time, a person can still get the flu.
· Every year in the United States, five to 20 percent of the population gets the flu.
· More than 200,000 people are hospitalized for flu complications, including pneumonia, dehydration and worsening of chronic medical conditions.
· The symptoms of the flu include fever, headache, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.