Even as this year’s influenza (flu) virus reaches its peak, there are still ways to lessen your chances of getting sick and — if you’ve already got it — reduces chances of spreading the flu to someone else. Here are three easy tips for fighting the flu:
Get a flu shot
It’s not too late to get a flu shot. Scheduling an annual flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself from the flu and prevent spreading the infection. The CDC suggests everyone six months of age and older get a flu vaccine every year.
Protect yourself and prevent the spread of flu
Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and cover your mouth for coughs and sneezes. It’s also wise to avoid contact with sick people, as well as avoid sharing food, drink or utensils with anyone.
If you’re sick, avoid close contact with people
If you become sick with a flu-like illness, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine, such as Tylenol.
Children younger than 2 years old, adults 65 and older and people with certain medical conditions can be at higher risk for complications due to flu and should seek medical attention. Prompt treatment can mean the difference between having a mild illness versus something more serious.
Washing your hands with soap and warm water is just one of many ways to fight the flu.
As this year’s influenza (flu) virus reaches its peak in Michigan, we at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center stress to our heart patients the importance of taking necessary precautions to avoid getting the flu — or to minimize their symptoms if they do get the flu. This includes patients whose heart health is being managed as well as our pre-op and post-op patients.
Here are some important tips for fighting the flu:
First and foremost, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), we recommend everyone, including heart patients, get an annual flu vaccine. If you’re a heart patient scheduled for surgery, you should get the flu vaccine one month prior to your surgery date. Even though this year’s flu vaccine is not an ideal match, the CDC says it can still offer important protection and help prevent serious flu complications.
If you develop flu symptoms, see your doctor right away for an antiviral medication such as Tamiflu, which can lessen your symptoms. The sooner you see your doctor, the better you’ll be able to manage your symptoms.
Keep germs at bay. The CDC recommends these methods to prevent the spread of germs:
Now is a great time to roll up your sleeve because the flu vaccine takes two weeks to kick in, says Elizabeth Jones, M.D., a family physician at the University of Michigan Health System’s Livonia Health Center. Everyone 6 months of age and older is encouraged to get their yearly flu vaccine, ideally in the fall.
More must-know flu season information
Needle-free season for kids. New this year, the nasal spray vaccine has become the preferred flu vaccine for healthy children ages 2-8. Studies suggest it may work better than a flu shot in younger children. But don’t delay getting vaccinated to find the nasal spray vaccine, Jones says.
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