Flu season begins each year around October and although it happens every year, many people still aren’t sure what they can do to avoid getting or spreading the flu. The CDC provides some useful tips to the public each flu season as a reminder that the flu can be managed and, in many cases, avoided all together! Check out some of those tips below.
The Importance of Your Flu Shot
Getting a flu shot during flu season reduces your risk of getting the flu by over 80%. The flu shot has little to no side effects other than injection site redness, it’s covered in full by most major insurance companies, and you can get it with just a quick trip to your local urgent care center or walk in clinic. Experts recommend getting your flu shot at the beginning of flu season, but you can get it late in the season and still enjoy the benefits of a lower risk of getting the flu.
Keep Clean Hands
The flu is highly contagious which makes hand washing during flu season more important than ever! Wash your hands regularly throughout the day and encourage friends and family members to do the same. Proper hand washing should include these steps:
- Wet your hands with warm or cold water
- Lather soap
- Continue to lather your hands, including between the fingers and the back of your hands, for at least 20 seconds. Keep track of the time by humming the “Happy Birthday” song twice.
- Dry your hands using paper towels or an air dryer. Wet hands pickup and spread germs more easily than dry hands.
Prevent the Illness from Spreading
If you do become ill, the CDC recommends minimizing your exposure to other people. That means calling off of work or school until you’re no longer contagious. It might be annoying to put your life on hold but keeping your illness away from others is the best way to prevent it from spreading. You should avoid close contact with anyone during this time of year too. Avoid handshakes and hugs by simply telling people you’re trying to avoid the flu this winter!
If you’re in need of treatment for the flu, visit your local urgent care center. An urgent care can also administer flu shots to lower your risk of getting the flu. Even though peak flu season has passed, it isn’t too late to get vaccinated!