Historically, outbreaks of influenza can begin as early as October and peak flu activity occurs during February according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). To help safeguard your family against this viral disease, and so that they can fully enjoy the activities that these fun months have to offer, take the following preventive measures to reduce your chances of catching the flu:
Children six months of age and older can receive a flu vaccine. To prepare for flu season, arrange for annual vaccination appointments for you and your family members. The CDC suggests that people get vaccinated against flu as soon as the vaccine becomes available and if possible by October. For the 2014-2015 flu seasons, manufacturers estimate that they will provide a supply of nearly 160 million doses.
Wash your hands
Make it routine for you to wash your hands regularly, especially before you eat and after you’ve been near someone who has been coughing or sneezing. Even if you are exposed to the flu, washing your hands will reduce the chance of flu germs spreading to your body.
Teach your children to wash their hands
It is highly likely that your children will come into contact with flu germs while at school. To minimize the chance of flu germs spreading to their bodies and the carrying of germs home from school, remind your children to use warm, soapy water to wash their hands regularly and frequently, including before meals. Stash a bottle of hand sanitizer in their backpacks as an additional defense.
Take your symptoms seriously
If you experience fever, sore throat, runny nose, coughing, sneezing, muscle aches, fatigue, exhaustion, vomiting, diarrhea and/or headache, see your doctor. Antiviral drugs to treat your illness work best when started within two days of experiencing symptoms.
Stop biting your nails
If you have a habit of biting your nails, you are giving flu germs a direct route to enter your system through your mouth and to start making you sick. Make it a point to kick the habit.
Keep your work area clean
Regularly disinfect your work area, especially if you eat lunch at your desk. Your desk can harbor flu germs, which are easily spread through everyday activities such as shuffling papers or talking on your office phone ‒ a likely place for exposure to flu germs. To help you keep track of your desk-cleaning schedule, try putting reminders in your work calendar.
Make your health a priority
Boost your immune system with healthy habits. Exercise regularly. Eat a well-balanced diet. Get enough sleep. Manage stress. Stop smoking. If your immune system is healthy, you reduce your chances of catching the flu.
Follow these recommendations and share them with your family and friends, and even with your children’s teachers, to help reduce the likelihood of exposure to flu germs.