Families everywhere have learned new ways of working, learning, and living over the past year and a half. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has made us adopt techniques to prevent the spread of contagious viruses, flu season still poses a threat to your health. The flu virus spreads through contact with a person who is sick with the virus. When they cough or touch surfaces like door handles, keyboards, or phones, the germs linger on the surface and can make someone else who touches them sick.
By its nature, the flu virus spreads easily in places where a lot of people spend time and come into contact with one another and the surfaces mentioned above. School and the workplace are two of these places. To keep your family safe this flu season, you need to know the most effective tips for preventing getting the flu. As the coronavirus spreads very similar to the flu, these tips can also keep you safe from catching COVID-19.
Get the Flu Vaccine
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the seasonal flu vaccine is the single best tool you have to reduce the risk of getting sick. The CDC recommends that everyone able to get the flu vaccine does so every year. There’s a different flu strain each year, so the yearly shot helps protect you from the current strain. Research indicates that this year, there will be four flu viruses that are the most common so the vaccine is designed to protect against those strains. You can visit your local urgent care clinic or visit your primary care doctor to get your flu vaccine this year.
While the vaccine doesn’t guarantee that you won’t get sick with the flu, it reduces the chances and also reduces the severity of the symptoms and potential complications if you do catch the virus. This makes it especially important that people who are at higher risk of serious flu complications get the vaccine. These people include pregnant people, young children, people 65 years and older, and people with certain chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or heart and lung disease. Health care workers and people who live with or care for those at a higher risk should get vaccinated as well to prevent spreading the flu to them. If you have or care for an infant, you should also get a vaccine because children under 6 months are too young to get vaccinated but are at a higher risk of serious flu illness.
Wash Your Hands
Your hands are how you interact with the world around you. Unfortunately, this means that they are very susceptible to picking up the flu virus. One of the best ways to keep your hands clean, and to keep yourself healthy, is to wash your hands often. Washing them with warm water and soap for about 20 seconds allows you to rid of any germs that you picked up outside of your home.
Whenever you come home from work, shopping, or just being outside, you should wash your hands. You should also get your children into this habit. To avoid catching the flu at school and spreading it to your family, they need to wash their hands frequently throughout the day and when they come home. Using hand sanitizer is also an effective way to avoid catching the virus when washing your hands isn’t possible.
Learn About Flu Outbreak Plans
Your workplace and your child’s school should have plans in place in the event of an outbreak of the flu or another illness. You should take time to learn about what these plans entail so that you are prepared. Schools and workplaces also often offer flu vaccinations onsite so you should learn whether that’s available to you and/or your children.
At your child’s school, childcare program, or college, they should be able to provide information on how sick students and staff will be separated from others and who will take care of them until they can go home. They’ll also likely have absentee policies for sick students and staff. You can also ask about the school’s routines for cleaning frequently-touched surfaces and objects and if they have supplies of disposable wipes, tissues, soap, and alcohol-based hand rubs.
At your workplace, your employer should be able to provide information on what happens if there is a viral outbreak. Be sure to set up schedules to routinely clean frequently-touched surfaces and objects, including phones, keyboards, and doorknobs. To get through flu season smoothly, your workplace will need an adequate supply of tissues, soap, and hand sanitizer. In case you or a family member gets sick and have to stay home, you should train others on how to do your job so they can cover for you.
Keep your family safe and healthy this year by following these tips. If you or your children feel sick, stay home and don’t go to work or school. This is the best way to prevent spreading the illness to others and getting the necessary rest to recover. To learn more about staying healthy through flu season or to get your flu vaccine, contact Care Station Medical Group.