It’s that time of the year – flu season. If you have not yet gotten a flu vaccine, you’re urged to get vaccinated now.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older as the most important step in protecting someone against flu viruses. You are at an increased risk if you are age 50 or older, children age six months and older, women who are pregnant and anyone who has a chronic medical condition.
Here are four steps to help prevent the flu:
1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.2. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneezing, and throw the tissue away after use. If a tissue isn’t available, cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hands.
3. Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand-rub.4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of the fluThe common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, being extremely tired, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea (more common in children). If you think you have the flu, your health-care provider should be consulted. Seek medical care immediately if you develop any of the following symptoms:
· Fast breathing, trouble breathing or bluish skin color.
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen (adults).
· Confusion or sudden dizziness.
· Not drinking enough fluids, not being able to eat, or severe or persistent vomiting.
· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough.
· Children - not waking up, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held or not interacting. Fever with a rash. No tears when crying or significantly fewer wet diapers than normal.
· Designate one person as the caregiver.
· Keep everyone’s personal items separate. All household members should avoid sharing pens, papers, clothes, towels, sheets, blankets, food or eating utensils unless they have been cleaned between uses.
· Disinfect doorknobs, switches, handles, computers, telephones, toys and other surfaces that are commonly touched around the home or workplace.
· Wash everyone’s dishes in the dishwasher or by hand using very hot water and soap.
· Wash everyone’s clothes in a standard washing machine as you normally would. Use detergent and very hot water and wash your hands after handling dirty laundry.
· Wear disposable gloves when in contact with or cleaning up body fluids.