Cold and Flu Prevention

The cold and flu season is nearly upon us! With kids back in school and the weather starting to turn, it is the perfect environment for this year’s crop of germs to strike. Stay ahead of the sniffles this year with some tips to keep the flu away!

• The CDC recommends getting your flu vaccination before the start of the flu season, the first of October. While it is most important that those with weakened immunity get the flu shot, it is recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months take the precaution. Getting the flu shot not only protects you from the most recent strain of virus, it protects those around you by increasing your community’s collective immunity.
• Prevent the spread of illness by washing your hands! Wash your hands thoroughly with an antibacterial soap for at least 20 seconds (hum the alphabet song twice through as a timer) as often as necessary. If hand soap and running water is not available to you, use an alcohol based hand sanitizer.
• Avoid touching you face as much as possible, specifically your eyes, nose and mouth. Touching your face is a great way for germs to spread!
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue if you cough or sneeze. If you don’t have a tissue handy, use your elbow instead of your hand to prevent the spread of your cold.
• If you do become sick, it is very important that you stay home for the duration of your illness and at least 24 hours after the fever has subsided. Working or going to school while sick will cause your illness to stick around longer and put those around you at risk of contracting your cold.

The influenza virus, image courtesy of the Center for Disease Control.

The influenza virus, image courtesy of the Center for Disease Control.