Five Ways to Avoid the Flu

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Dr. Van Shares How You Can Skip the Flu This Year

womanblowingnose-background removed v2While the leaves may not exactly change color along the Emerald Coast, we can count on more than college football to make a debut each Fall. Every year, millions fall victim to the annual flu. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that between 5 and 20 percent of the U.S. population will get the flu each year[1]—that results in about 200,000 hospitalizations[2] and thousands of deaths.

Although many recover after a few days or weeks, its important to note the flu can be life threatening—especially for the elderly, young children, pregnant women and those with certain chronic health conditions. The best way to fight the flu is to avoid it altogether.

Dr. Vien Van, a physician at White-Wilson’s Immediate Care Clinic, shares 5 ways to avoid the flu this season.

  1. Get Vaccinated!The number one way to avoid the flu is by getting your flu shot—If you have not already been vaccinated, do so now. The flu hits as early as late fall and your body needs about two weeks to form protective antibodies. Make sure children (6 months or older) and the elderly receive their shots too, since they are at greatest risk.
  2. Close Contact = Flu Spreading.Its not rocket science, but avoiding contact with people that are sick can protect you from getting sick too. When you are sick, try to stay home from work, school and other errands to help prevent your illness from spreading to others. And don’t forget to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing to help keep germs from spreading.
  3. Keep Clean. Cleaning your hands often will help protect you from germs that can lead to flu. It is a good idea to keep hand sanitizer close by during flu season, although warm soap and water is always the best way to wash your hands. Be sure to also clean and disinfect surfaces frequently touched—especially when someone in your home or office environment is sick.
  4. Avoid Eyes, Nose & Mouth—Flu germs can make their way into your system when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth after you’ve touched something contaminated with germs.
  5. Practice Good Health—By staying healthy, you can help your body fight off the flu. Maintain a well balanced diet, drink plenty of fluids, be physically active, watch your stress levels and get plenty of rest.

Don’t “flu around” with your health this fall. Follow these 5 simple suggestions to help avoid the flu.

[1] Molinari NA, et al. Vaccine 25 (2007)

[2] Zhou NA, et al.Vaccine 25 (2007)