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Expert Advice on How to Prevent the Flu This Winter

Nov 28, 2023

Urgent Care

Expert Advice on How to Prevent the Flu This Winter

Winter brings a magical landscape but also signals the arrival of flu season. With the drop in temperatures, the flu virus thrives, making its rounds and affecting millions. Protecting yourself and your loved ones from this contagious illness becomes paramount during these chilly months.

In the United States alone, the flu impacts a significant portion of the population annually. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), anywhere between 9 million to 41 million cases of flu-related illnesses are reported during a typical flu season. These numbers, coupled with the potential severity of the flu's impact, emphasize the importance of preventive measures.

In this blog, we'll learn everything from flu symptoms to the best time to be vaccinated. We'll explore healthy habits, how to prevent the flu at school and work, and who should prioritize vaccination.

What You Need to Know About the Flu

Before we know how to prevent influenza, let us understand what flu is in the first place.

A contagious respiratory disease, influenza, also known as flu, causes lung, nose, and throat infections. Older people, young children, and people with compromised immunity and other health conditions are more vulnerable to influenza. Getting the flu vaccine annually is one of the best ways of flu prevention. Also, practicing good hygiene and staying home if you're sick is important to stop the flu from spreading and reduce your symptoms.

What Are Common Flu Symptoms?

The symptoms of flu can range from mild to severe. The onset of flu symptoms is sudden. Some of the most common symptoms include:

  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Body aches
  • Stuffy or runny nose
  • Nausea or Vomiting

How does the flu spread?

Flu is highly contagious and spreads through droplets when the infected person sneezes, coughs, or talks. People nearby might catch the influenza virus via their noses or mouths. It might also happen that a person touches an object or surface with a flu virus and then touches one's nose, mouth, and eyes, thus transmitting the infection.

Healthy Practices for the Prevention of Influenza

Here are some healthy practices you must follow for flu prevention.

  1. Stay at home when sick: Refrain from going to school, work, or other places, and stay home if you have the flu.
  2. Avoid close contact: Try avoiding close contact with flu-infected people. Maintain distance while talking to prevent flu virus attacks.
  3. Clean hands frequently: Washing hands with soap and water offers germ protection. If not available, use a hand rub with a high alcohol percentage.
  4. Cover nose and mouth: While sneezing or coughing, cover your nose and mouth with a handkerchief or tissue. This prevents the virus from spreading through droplets.
  5. Avoid touching face: One of the best ways to prevent getting the flu is not touching your nose, eyes, and mouth after touching any surface that might be contaminated with the flu virus.
  6. Practice healthy habits: Practising healthy habits like drinking plenty of fluids, getting enough sleep, being physically active, eating a balanced and nutritious diet, and cleaning and disinfecting commonly touched surfaces are great ways of keeping the flu virus at bay.

How to Prevent the Flu at School and Work?

To prevent the flu at school, ensure the institution has plans for potential outbreaks and offers on-site flu vaccinations. Confirm regular cleaning of high-touch surfaces and availability of essential hygiene supplies. Understand the protocols for separating sick individuals, the care provided until they can go home, and the absentee policy for sick students and staff.

In the workplace, inquire about the employer's contingency plans for flu outbreaks and on-site vaccination options. Regularly clean frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, keyboards, and phones to reduce germ transmission. Ensure the workplace maintains sufficient tissues, soap, hand sanitizers, and wipes. If feeling unwell at work, prioritize leaving promptly to limit exposure to others.

Who Should Get a Flu Vaccine This Winter?

One of the most common questions is about who should get a flu shot. It's recommended for:

  • Children younger than two years
  • Older people over 65 years of age
  • People with weakened immune systems or health conditions such as asthma, chronic lung problems, heart issues, and kidney or liver disorders that make them more prone to the flu
  • Pregnant women
  • Healthcare workers in hospitals and medical facilities

On the other hand, people who should avoid the flu shot include:

  • Babies less than six months old
  • Those who've had allergic reactions to the flu vaccine before
  • Individuals with severe, life-threatening allergies to specific vaccine ingredients
  • Anyone feeling unwell at the time of vaccination

What Is the Best Time to Get Vaccinated Against the Flu?

Getting a flu shot every year is vital for everyone aged six months and older, especially those at higher risk of severe flu complications. Different vaccines suit various age groups, with options available for those as young as six months and specific ones for adults 65 and older. Pregnant women and those with chronic conditions should get vaccinated, avoiding nasal spray if pregnant or with certain health issues. While there are preferences for specific vaccines for adults, any suitable flu vaccine suffices if preferred options aren't available.

Final Thoughts

One of the best ways to prevent flu is through vaccination. Getting the flu shot on time can help in evading the flu virus. Even if you are infected, the symptoms will not be severe.

Get Your Flu Shots at MI Express Urgent Care!

MI Express Urgent Care is your reliable destination for timely flu shots and comprehensive protection against the flu virus. Our healthcare experts prioritize your well-being and provide quick and reliable vaccination services to keep you safe. Trust us to provide prompt and effective flu vaccinations, ensuring you stay protected throughout the flu season. Contact us today to prioritize your well-being and health.

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