The time is now to prepare for flu season

Person getting a shot
The air is cooler and the kids are back to school, meaning flu season is nearing.

While it's not possible to predict how long and severe-or mild-any flu season may be, health care professionals agree that preparation is key to staying healthy throughout the season.

And now is the time to prepare.

McLaren Macomb agrees with and endorses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation of an annual flu shot for everyone six months and older no later than the end of October (flu activity starts increasing in October and November, traditionally lasting until January).

Contact your health care provider to inquire about flu shots.

However, should anyone find themselves with flu symptoms-which include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue-preventative measures are necessary to avoid spreading the virus.

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 mouth when sneezing.

Clean and disinfect all high-touch, common areas every day.