How Can I Prevent My Family from Getting The Flu?
Getting a flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting yourself and your loved ones against this serious disease. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone six months of age and older. People should begin getting vaccinated soon after flu vaccine becomes available, if possible by October, to ensure that as many people as possible are protected before flu season begins. However, as long as flu viruses are circulating in the community, it’s not too late to get vaccinated.
Wash Your Hands
Keeping your hands clean and germ-free is an easy way to prevent the flu. Be sure to wash your hands after trips to the bathroom, going grocery shopping, and other public places where germs could be spread. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub like hand-sanitizer.
Stay Away from Sick People
Avoid close contact with those who have the virus. If you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.
Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, and Mouth
Germs are spread when a person touches something contaminated with germs and than touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
When Should I Get Vaccinated?
The CDC recommends that people get vaccinated against flu soon after the vaccine becomes available, and if possible, by October. It takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against the flu.
What Should I Do If I Get the Flu?
There are prescription antiviral drugs that can be used to treat flu illness. The CDC recommends that people at high-risk of serious flu complications (children under 2 years, adults 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with certain medical conditions) and people who are very sick with flu (such as those hospitalized because of flu) should get antiviral drugs. Others can be treated with antivirals at there primary care provider’s discretion.
Antiviral drug treatment works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness. It is important to stay home from work and school when you have the flu, which keeps the virus from spreading.
Gordon Physicians Group has a network of primary care and family medicine providers who are accepting new patients. Click here to view the list of providers.