6 tips for preventing the flu
Jun 15, 2022 • 3 min
Last year, flu cases dropped dramatically for some surprising—and obvious—reasons. Let’s keep doing the right things to help keep this dangerous disease in check. Here are the top six ways you can avoid getting the flu, starting with getting your annual flu shot.
We learned a lot about fighting the flu in 2020. It turns out that, by taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID, we really crushed flu season. The CDC showed us that between September 2020 and January 2021, there were 1,316 positive flu cases. Over the same period the previous year, 130,000 cases. That gives us a good idea of how we can avoid the flu again this season.
The strongest defense is vaccination. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones against the flu is to get a flu vaccine every flu season because the flu is a contagious respiratory disease that can lead to serious illness, hospitalization or even death. The CDC recommends everyone six months and older get an annual flu vaccine. Beyond getting vaccinated, however, there are other ways you can help protect yourselves and others from this disease.
Avoid close contact. Be smart around sick people, by not being around sick people. If you can avoid close contact with people who are sick, it will go a long way toward avoiding the flu. If you're caring for a sick kid, a parent or a partner, make sure to wear a mask and wash your hands often.
Definitely clean your hands. Remember soaping your hands and rinsing them for 20 seconds? That's still a great way to keep the flu at bay. It also helps to clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.
If you are sick, stay home. You aren't a hero if you show up to work or school sick. In fact, you risk getting other people sick. Stay home, if at all possible. It's also okay if you miss a Zoom meeting once in a while too. Sleep and reducing stress is a good way to get better.
If all else fails, cover up. If you aren't wearing a mask and feel a cough or sneeze coming on, cover your mouth and nose. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are spread by coughing, sneezing or unclean hands. So sneeze into your elbow or a tissue.
Practice good health habits. Sometimes common sense works to help combat the flu too. Good habits like avoiding touching your eyes, nose or mouth help slow the spread of germs. It's also important for your overall health to get plenty of sleep to keep your immune system healthy.
Other solid tips: Be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food. You don't have to be perfect, just try and practice these good health habits.