By Dr. Lisa Price, Senior Medical Director
Whether you’re ready or not, cold and flu season is right around the corner. Fortunately, you do not have to settle for the inevitable. Here are some tips for staying safe this cold and flu season.
Get a Flu Vaccine
Everyone 6 months and older need to get a flu vaccine every year. Seasonal flu vaccines are the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu. It’s important to remember that the flu spreads easily from person to person. Getting a flu vaccine, doesn’t just protect you, it also protects those around you.
You have options
Beyond the standard flu vaccine, there is now a high dose version for seniors to help them have a better immune response. People with mild egg allergy (rash) can receive standard flu vaccination. There is an egg-free vaccine (recombinant) for those with more severe egg allergy.
Wash your hands
Remember to wash your hands on a regular basis or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Touching a contaminated object leaves germs on your hands that can cause the flu or cold. Handwashing gets rid of the bacteria and viruses that cause the cold and flu.
Take Care of Your Health
A healthy immune system helps you ward off winter illnesses. Improve your overall health by eating well, exercising and getting enough sleep. Managing stress also increases your immune function.
Avoid Sick People
Someone who has a cold or the flu can spread it to others through close contact. Minimize contact when possible, and practice good handwashing when it is unavoidable. You may also want to consider saving sick days at work so you’re ready to take care of yourself when sickness sets in.
What if I Get Sick?
Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get flu symptoms, in most cases you should stay home and avoid contact with other people, except to get medical care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that antiviral drugs be used early to treat people who are very sick with the flu (for example, people who are in the hospital) and people who are sick with the flu and are at high risk of serious flu complications, either because of their age or because they have a high risk medical condition.
Now’s the time to prepare for cold and flu season. Take preventive measures to avoid getting sick, and have the things you need on hand in case you do get sick.
Thinking about these things now will help you be prepared during the coming cold-weather months.
Physician Health Partners (PHP) care coordinators provide support to help you manage your health. Talk with a care coordinator today.
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