Beat the flu: Prevention tips

Arm getting a shot

Although it was a slow start to the flu season, the number of confirmed cases are starting to ramp up. This means preparations must be taken to avoid the pesky illness and keep your health this winter.

Memories of last season's record-breaking flu season are still fresh "“ packed emergency rooms and missed days of school and work for those afflicted. In an effort to curtail its impact this year, preventative measures can be taken to both avoid getting it and spreading it.

Kellee Necaise, RN, BSN, MSA, infection prevention coordinator at McLaren Macomb, is an expert in the practice of preventing the infection and spread of communicable diseases, which especially includes the flu:

  • A yearly flu vaccine is recommended by the CDC for everyone 6 months and older. It is also recommended that they receive it as soon as it is available to ensure the vaccine is at its full potency and effectiveness when the season is in full swing.
    • Keep an eye out for flu symptoms, not only in yourself, but in those around you. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue.
    • If sick, limit time with others to prevent them from becoming ill as well.
    • If a physician prescribes antiviral medication, take as directed "“ this will help to shorten the length of time you are ill.
    • After a fever, stay home at least 24 hours without having used fever reducer medication.
    • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose and mouth to avoid the spread of germs from your hands to vulnerable parts of your body.
    • Also immediately throw away all used tissues, cover all coughs and cover nose and mouths "“ with both hands "“ when sneezing.
    • Clean and disinfect all high-touch, common areas every day.

    Following these tips will aid in keeping everyone safer and healthier until spring arrives.