Tips to keep the flu out of your house this season
The flu is coming and like always – it is everywhere! Although there is no way to completely avoid exposure to the flu, there are things you and your family can do to greatly lower your chances and help prevent it from spreading in your own home.
First and foremost – get vaccinated!
The most important thing you can do is get yourself and your entire family vaccinated. The flu spreads and is very contagious, even before we have any symptoms. A flu vaccine protects against the most common strains of the flu circulating this year. Did you know they may change every year? That’s why we need a new vaccination every year to stay protected. Everyone older than 6 months should get their flu vaccine by the end of October if possible!
Wash your hands like there’s no tomorrow!
One of the best ways to protect against the flu is by properly washing your hands. Make sure you have antibacterial soap in your bathroom, and your family uses a lot of it! Wash with warm water and your antibacterial soap, lathering and working the soap in for at least 20 seconds. A fun thing your kids can do is sing the “happy birthday” song in their head twice – it takes up just about the right amount of time. Then rinse and dry your hands. If you aren’t at home, use a paper towel to turn off the faucet or open the door, so you don’t get those germs right back on your hands!
Cover those mouths…with tissue!
When you cough or sneeze cover your mouth with tissue, then throw that tissue in the garbage right away! Don’t leave tissues lying around and definitely don’t reuse or share them. If you can’t sneeze into a tissue, sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
Sharing may NOT be such a good idea right now…
This may be the one time you DON’T want to encourage your kids to share. Try not to share cups, utensils, glasses or plates between family members to reduce the chance of spreading germs. It’s even a good idea to put popcorn, chips and others foods that we normally share, in your own bowl. Clean everything right after using with a dishwasher and hot soapy water.
Clean, clean, clean!
Flu germs love to live on hard surfaces like kitchen counters, sponges, cutting boards and floors. It is a good idea to disinfect and clean these spots as often. It is important to note that the flu doesn’t come from a dirty home – it comes from people. But by cleaning and disinfecting often we can minimize the germs we as people spread to one another by way of these surfaces.
Keep those healthy habits
Just because the flu is out, doesn’t mean you should hide away in your clean home and stop with your normal healthy routines. A healthy lifestyle helps you stay strong and fight the flu. Continue to get out and exercise, do what you normally do to manage stress, drink lots of fluids and get a good night’s sleep. This will help boost your immune system, instead of letting it get run down and week.
Look for these symptoms…
The flu is different from a cold. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. The flu usually comes on suddenly. People who have the flu often have cold symptoms and fever, chills, muscle or body aches, weakness and some people may have vomiting and diarrhea.
If it gets you – stay home!
If you happen to get caught by the flu, the best thing you can do is stay home, rest and follow your doctor’s orders! Going to work or school with the flu only helps you get sicker and spread it to others. Take care of yourself and keep others safe by staying home!
Authored by: Liz Claudio, RN, Director of Clinical Operations at Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers
Need a Flu Shot?
Get your vaccine at your next appointment, or come in during:
Flu Walk-In Hours
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Saturday 8:30 – 11:30 AM
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