Fall is here, and while that tends to mean cooler, crisper evenings and pumpkin-flavored desserts, it also means flu season is coming around once more. This year, don’t lose a week (or even longer) of beautiful fall weather and fun activities being cooped up indoors with the flu. Here’s what the CDC recommends you do (now!) to prevent getting sick:
Get a Flu Shot
Hello! If you’re looking to fight the flu, this one is a no-brainer. The CDC recommends a flu vaccine each year, which helps protect against the season’s most common viruses. You and everyone in your family older than six months should make sure to get vaccinated, and that’s doubly important if you’re at higher risk (meaning you’re pregnant, 65 years or older or have a chronic health condition). If you’ve got a little one younger than six months, he or she can’t be vaccinated, but you’ll help to protect even the littles by making sure everyone else in the family gets their flu shot. Here is a map to help you find the closest place to get vaccinated near you.
Stop the Germs!
The CDC also recommends taking action to stop the spread of germs. Avoid contact with people who are sick, and stay home from school or work if you have symptoms of illness. We’re going to say it again: please stay at home if you are sick! Practice good hand washing, and make sure you’re washing regularly throughout the day. Antibacterial hand gel can be used, but should not substitute entirely for hand washing. Be sure you’re disinfecting surfaces in your home that see the most traffic, like doorknobs, cabinet hardware, computer keyboards, countertops, etc.
Take an Antiviral
If you do happen to come down with the flu, get to a doctor ASAP. He or she can prescribe an antiviral drug that may help to lessen your symptoms or shorten the time you spend sick. Studies show that antiviral drugs are most effective within two days of getting sick, so be sure you head to the doctor as soon as you start showing symptoms.
Here’s to a happier, healthier flu season. How are you protecting yourself?