5 Ways to Avoid the Flu
With the arrival of fall comes gatherings for football games, leaf raking, and the anticipation of Thanksgiving. While you’re planning for these fun events, be sure you’re also preparing for flu season. Fall is the perfect time to start taking some common-sense flu precautions and to schedule a flu vaccine. Try these five tips to lower your risk of catching the flu.
1. Scrub Up
Think of all the surfaces you touch each day — from a handrail on stairs to the ATM keypad and the grocery cart handle. Studies show that the flu virus can live on non-porous surfaces like metal and plastic for up to nine hours. You can catch the flu when you touch a contaminated surface and then touch your eyes or nose.
Thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water is the best way to kill those flu germs, but if a sink and soap are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. It’s a good idea to wash frequently during flu season and especially if you’ve been out running errands, shaking a lot of hands at a business meeting, or spending time in airports or other high-traffic areas.
2. Get Plenty of Sleep
Infection-fighting antibodies and cells are reduced during periods when you don’t get enough sleep, so getting plenty of sleep during flu season is important. Many people don’t realize what is recommended by doctors as the optimal amount of sleep. Most adults need seven to eight hours of good sleep each night. Teenagers need nine to ten hours of sleep, and school-aged children should get ten or more hours of sleep.
3. Clean Common Surfaces at Home and Work
Routinely cleaning frequently touched objects and surfaces can help remove germs. Use a sanitizing wipe to clean doorknobs, keyboards, phones, remote controls, and other commonly touched surfaces at home and work. Be sure to stock up on wipes, alcohol-based hand rubs, tissues, soap, and paper towels for both your house and office as well.
4. Get a Flu Shot
A flu shot is the best way to avoid the flu. Flu vaccines cause antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination. These antibodies provide protection against infection with the viruses that are in the vaccine.
The early fall, typically October is the best time to get a flu shot; however, getting the vaccine in November and even December can provide protection. It’s better to get a shot late than not at all.
5. Take Precautions for Sick Family Members
If a family member gets the flu, try to take precautions such as having the sick person cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, wash their hands after coughing or sneezing, and sleep in a room by themselves if possible. Wipe surfaces in your home down frequently.
Schedule Your Flu Shot Today
Our experienced medical team offers flu shots for adults and children. Flu shots are offered at all nine LeBauer primary care locations by appointment.
New patients can complete our online appointment form to see a doctor and get a flu shot. If you are a current LeBauer patient, contact your primary care office to make your flu shot appointment.
Our primary care team can also keep you feeling your best in cold and flu season. Established LeBauer patients are able to get same-day or next-day appointments. Call your LeBauer office to schedule a time. Many of our offices offer extended early morning or early evening hours.
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