No one wants to get the flu.
With symptoms like fever, nausea, vomiting, chills, and body aches, the Influenza virus can make for a decidedly miserable experience with possibly deadly consequences: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that the flu has contributed to more than 3,000 deaths every year in the United States since 1976.
Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to stay healthy this year.
Tips for Preventing the Flu
1. Wash Your Hands
Think of all the things your hands touch over the course of the day: A grocery cart, the handle on the door, that $10 bill in your wallet.
It’s important to wash your hands regularly to prevent the spread of disease. If you are unable to use soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Proper handwashing is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and others from illness.
2. Rest up, Eat Healthy
A good night’s rest can allow your body to build up its natural defenses against disease. And your body is fueled by the food that you eat, so quality nutrition can help you fight off the flu virus.
3. Sick? Stay Home!
Your body is telling you to stay home in bed, so why not listen?
Staying home and resting is preferable to struggling through the daily routine, as it helps you recover and prevents the spread of the disease to your coworkers and their families.
4. Cover up Coughs and Sneezes
The flu is a droplet-borne illness, so those coughs and sneezes spread diseases.
Cough into a sleeve, elbow, or tissue that you throw away immediately, rather than into your hands. The CDC offers this handy infographic to remind people how to properly cover those coughs.
UPMC Urgent Care locations offer flu shots from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Best of all, you don’t need an appointment to get one. Visit the UPMC Urgent Care website to get more information and find a location near you.
5. Clean Frequently Touched Surfaces
Sanitizing surfaces like doorknobs, desktops, keyboards, and other often-touched items can prevent them from becoming vectors of disease.
6. Take Your Antiviral Meds
If your doctor has determined that you could benefit from these medications, take them as directed. They can both shorten the duration of your illness and prevent serious complications from the flu.
A flu shot can offer excellent protection from illness. It’s the best way to avoid or minimize the severity of the flu.