NNAPOLIS, Md., Jan. 23, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is reporting widespread influenza (flu) cases in 49 states. The flu thrives in cold, dry weather, and can be transmitted to another person from as far as six feet, according to the National Institutes of Health.
Take precautions to lower the chance of catching this dangerous illness. The healthcare providers at Right time Medical Care, Maryland’s leading group of urgent care centers, recommends the following steps to protect yourself:
- 1. Get a flu shot
Everyone over six months of age should receive a flu vaccination as the most important step of protecting against the flu. The threat usually continues through April so even getting a flu shot now will help. There are several misconceptions about flu shots, including the concern they make people sick. However, vaccines are made with inactive viruses which don’t cause illness. Additionally, getting the flu shot can lessen your symptoms even if you do contract the flu. For those with egg allergies, ask your healthcare provider about an alternative. People at risk for developing serious flu symptoms are young children, older adults, pregnant women, anyone with a compromised immune systems and residents of nursing homes.
- 2. Practice good health habits
Maintaining hygienic personal habits can reduce exposure to germs and prevent their spread. During flu season:
Avoid close contact with others, including shaking hands, whether or not they are showing symptoms.
Stay home from work, school and errands when sick to prevent exposing others.
Cover your cough and sneeze with a tissue or the inside of your elbow.
Wash hands often with soap and water and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when water isn’t available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as germs often spread when someone touches a contaminated surface and then touches his or her face.
See your healthcare provider as soon as any symptoms develop.
- Stop the spread of germs
In addition to practicing good health habits, clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched. Focusing on countertops, desktops, doorknobs, faucet handles, remote controls, keyboards, phones, tablets and toys can help reduce the spread of all germs, including the flu virus