How Can I Avoid Getting the Flu This Season?

Flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness, and at times can lead to death.

Flu activity typically starts to increase in October, peaking in activity between December and February, although significant activity can last as late as May.

The CDC estimates that the flu has resulted in between 9.3 million and 45 million illnesses each year in the United States since 2010.

Some common flu symptoms include

  • Feeling feverish or getting the chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Vomiting/diarrhea

The best way to avoid getting the flu virus is by getting your yearly flu vaccine. Recent studies show that flu vaccination reduces the risk of flu illness by between 40% and 60%.

The vaccine was also proven to reduce severe cases and hospitalization from the flu. For example, in 2021,  flu vaccination was associated with a 26% lower risk of ICU admission and a 31% lower risk of death from flu.

Is the flu vaccine right for you?

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older should get an influenza (flu) vaccine every season with rare exception.

People with severe, life-threatening allergies to any ingredient in a flu vaccine should not get the vaccine. This might include gelatin, antibiotics, or other ingredients. People who have had a severe allergic reaction to a dose of influenza vaccine should not get that flu vaccine again and might not be able to receive other influenza vaccines.

The CDC highly recommends that children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years old receive the vaccine as their immune systems are typically not very efficient and they may have a severe reaction from the flu. People 50 years and older are also advised to get the vaccine as this group may be more likely to have chronic medical conditions that put them at higher risk of severe influenza illness.

If you decide the shot isn’t for you, there are some other ways that you can avoid getting the flu.

Man washing hands

Practice good hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is one of the best ways you can defend yourself against this airborne illness.

The flu is highly contagious and can spread to people up to 6 feet away! Flu is spread by tiny water droplets produced when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. Less often, a person might get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Following a few of these healthy habits can help minimize the spread of the flu

  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces
  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Be physically active
  • Manage your stress
  • Drink plenty of fluids
  • Eat nutritious food

If you do happen to get sick or just simply want to warm up, click below for a delicious chicken soup recipe that helps combat the flu!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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