How can we avoid what some believe to be the unavoidable? The time is coming, as it comes every year, but are we prepared? The present article aims to give you some idea as how to avoid getting or spreading the dreaded flu this flu season.
What Is the Flu?
The flu, as we most commonly refer to it, is caused by the influenza virus. This virus has a great capability of mutating to various forms, making it impossible to be prevented through just one vaccine (hence why we have a new vaccine every year). The same ability to mutate allows the flu virus to actually cross species, from birds or pigs to humans, resulting in mass hysteria. Luckily, extremely deadly forms of the flu are not common and most cases of the flu, even the dreaded swine flu, usually resolve with little complications for the majority of the healthy population.
Should I Get the Vaccine?
This is up to the individual to decide upon, unless you work with sick patients, in which case you would be strongly advised to get the vaccine so as to not only avoid getting sick, but to avoid passing the illness onto your patients who are most susceptible to serious complications. Generally, in the health care field, there is a hierarchy of who should get the vaccine first; it includes the elderly, children up to the age of six, health care workers and people who have various health complications such as heart or lung problems, patients who are on daily steroid therapy, diabetics, etc.
If there is no shortage of vaccines, we move on from the above mentioned list and recommend everyone who is able to get the vaccine to do so. Although it is best to vaccinate against influenza, it is not the only way to keep safe, and if you are a healthy adult with no health complications, getting the flu will most likely leave you with no lasting complications.
What Are Some Other Ways to Avoid Falling Sick?
There are many other precautions that can be taken. Some are obvious and some are less obvious, but here is what I came up with after visiting the Center for Disease Control’s website:
- Avoid close contact with people who have the flu.
- WASH YOUR HANDS! This is very important, as we tend to put our hands on our face and in our mouth without even thinking about it, transferring germs right into our bodies. By keeping the hands clean, if you happen to be sick you also minimize the likelihood of passing the disease on to someone else.
- Try to avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth often, especially if you haven’t washed your hands for a while. Germs are, according to the CDC and common sense, spread when a person touches a surface that is contaminated and then touches his/her nose, eyes or mouth.
- Eat healthy foods and take a multi-vitamin daily, as both of these things can strengthen your immune system, making it stronger to fight diseases. Along with eating healthy, adequate sleep (about eight hours) also helps to keep your body strong and is a good preventative measure to take.
- When you are sick, stay at home. By doing so, you not only prevent your illness from worsening, but also ensure you do not pass it on to others.
- Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze to prevent transmitting germs to others.
With the above tips, you can be a step ahead of the flu and an active person in the war against disease! For more information on the prevention of the flu, along with many other diseases, you can visit the CDC website.