Protect Yourself from the Flu and Other Respiratory Illnesses
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes National Influenza Vaccination Week from December 5 to 11, but the flu is not the only thing that’s floating around out there. Between COVID, Influenza A, RSV, and other respiratory viruses there’s a very good chance of catching something right now, if you haven’t already.
It’s important to get recommended vaccines, but don’t forget that there are other ways to protect yourself and others against the flu and other illnesses caused by germs in your environment. Here's some advice from the CDC:
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
- Stay home from work, school, and errands when you are sick to help prevent spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick.
- Wash your hands often to help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub/hand sanitizer.
- Remember to wash your hands before eating; when putting on or taking off your mask; as soon as you get home; after using the bathroom; and after touching things that lots of other people have touched (high-contact surfaces such as door handles, cart handles, etc)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work, or school, especially when someone is ill.
- Consider wearing a mask when in crowded or public spaces.
And don’t forget that your general health makes a big difference in how well you come through any illness. COVID taught us that people who had medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc. tended to experience worse complications and be hospitalized more often than those who did not.
You can build a solid foundation of good health by paying attention to the basics:
- Avoid things that damage and weaken your immune system, like smoking and too much alcohol
- Get plenty of sleep
- Be physically active
- Manage your stress
- Drink plenty of fluids
- Eat nutritious food
- Stay at a healthy weight
- Check your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol numbers on a regular basis.
Another thing that we learned during COVID was that masks were effective in preventing the spread of germs, and they can provide an extra layer of protection to those who choose to wear them.
Wishing you a happy and healthy holiday season!