Families and consumers, flu season is here once again. Many people become anxious during flu season and fear getting influenza. This year is no exception with the addition of the COVID-19 pandemic and virus, making it more important than ever to consider getting vaccinated.
A friend recently got a flu shot for the first time and said: “It felt like a tickle. I was surprised it did not hurt.”
While a flu shot cannot protect against COVID-19, it can play an important role in keeping you, your family, friends, and your community healthy. While it is not possible to prevent all cases of the flu virus, flu shots may help prevent you from getting sick and from spreading the virus to others.
Flu vaccination has benefits. It may reduce flu illnesses, doctors’ visits, and missed work and school due to sickness caused by the flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.
Know the symptoms, know what you can do and stay home if you are diagnosed with the flu.
Do you know the symptoms?
You may experience all or some of these:
- Sore throat
- Runny nose
- Stuffy nose
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Muscle and body aches
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea
If you or anyone in your family have these symptoms, please contact your doctor! Your doctor can determine if this is truly influenza and then prescribe a treatment, if needed.
Always call your healthcare provider when in doubt.
Who is at higher risk?
- Young children
- Adults age 65 and over
- Pregnant women
- Others with certain medical conditions like diabetes, asthma, heart disease and lung disease
Minimizing the number of people who are sick and need to be hospitalized makes for a healthier community and can ease the strain on our healthcare system. This has become an issue of great importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. With less people hospitalized from the flu, it frees up beds for those admitted to the hospital diagnosed with COVID-19.
What can you do?
- Proper and frequent handwashing, for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water, can help stop the spread of infection.
- Engage in respiratory etiquette meaning cover coughs and cover sneezes.
- Wash your hands after coughing and/or sneezing
- Wear a face covering when in public. Practice social distancing.
- Stock up on tissues; Throw used tissues in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs (remote control, doorknobs, phones, keyboards, refrigerator door handle, garage door openers, sink and cabinet handles)
- Try to avoid contact with sick people.
- If you are sick, stay home. Do not infect others.
- Get a flu shot as soon as it becomes available.
Help stop the spread of COVID-19 and the flu.
How long should I stay home if I am sick with the flu?
The Center for Disease Control recommends you stay home for at least twenty-four (24) hours after your fever is gone. You should stay home from your job, school, travel, shopping, and other social engagements, and public events. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm
Here is a link to CDC’s recommendations and resources on the flu-https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/vaccinations.htm#when
What about nutrition, health and hydration considerations?
Always eat well-balanced meals following MyPlate guidelines, get your annual physical, get enough sleep, control stress levels, and get some exercise each day. Stick to your regular meal pattern, as able, and drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
You may want to have some of these foods on hand: popsicles, clear sports drinks, soup, clear broth, fruit juices, crackers, dry toast, cooked cereals, and jello/gelatin. Always follow your physician’s recommendation(s).
Protect yourself from the flu! The flu is no joke.
I got a flu shot a few weeks ago with my daughter and we both got a $10 gift card from the site. We can all use a few extra dollars these days, living through these unprecedented times.
I hope you stay healthy this flu season.
Take care of yourself.
Thank you for reading this blog and thank you for doing your part to stay well and promote a healthy community. Please feel free to leave any comments.
For more information
Flu: What to Do if You Get Sick/UF Student Health Care Center- https://shcc.ufl.edu/services/primary-care/flu/what-to-do-if-you-get-sick/
Key facts about influenza- https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm
Department of Health and Human Services-www.flu.gov
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-www.cdc.gov/flu
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Spanish)-Http://espanol.cdc.gov/enes/flu/
National Institutes of Health (NIH)-https://newsinhealth.nih.gov/2014/10/cold-flu-or-allergy