Finally the kids are back at school. Together again with their friends they are learning, having fun, and spreading germs. It is never too early to think about how to protect your family from illnesses like the flu. Here are 5 easy ways to do just that.
The flu virus changes every year, and so does the flu vaccine.1 It is safe and effective; getting the vaccine protects you when you are exposed to the virus, stops you from being very sick, and prevents you from passing on the virus to your family.
The flu vaccine is available as a shot and a nasal spray! Children especially may prefer the nose spray option so they don’t get a needle.
It is important to get your flu vaccination early because there is a two-week delay between getting the flu vaccine and your body being protected.2 During that period other precautions should also be taken to prevent getting ill from circulating flu germs.
The flu virus is spread mainly by small water droplets when people cough, sneeze or talk. Since your hands come in contact with many items touched by other people, like door handles, they are most likely to come into contact with the virus.3 Washing your hands thoroughly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds will remove most germs.4 Younger children should be supervised when washing their hands to make sure they are thoroughly clean. If you’re on-the-go you can also use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.5
As you cannot wash your hands all day long, reducing the number of times you touch your eyes, nose and mouth can reduce the likelihood of getting the flu virus.6 The tiny droplets of virus can live up to 48 hours on most surfaces. So every day objects, such as phones, TV remotes, doorknobs or computer keyboards can become covered with the virus.7 Just changing the TV channel can transmit droplets to your hands and easily pass on to your face. One way to reduce this is to clean and disinfect surfaces you touch the most often.
Sneezes come in different varieties. Some sneak up on you and catch you by surprise. Others linger on the tip of your nose, making you cry a little. During flu season a good habit is to sneeze into your inner elbow and not into your hand.8 If you can catch your sneeze in a tissue, that’s great too! Just throw the tissue away immediately once it has been used.9
Be wary of close talkers! When a person sneezes, speaks, or uses a tissue, the virus is hanging around. By keeping a distance when talking, or minimizing contact when you are sick, you can protect against passing on or getting the virus.10 If someone in your family does get the virus, reducing their interactions with others can cut down the likelihood of passing the flu along to someone else.11
For more information about protecting your family visit your local Guardian, I.D.A., Medicine Shoppe or Remedy’sRx pharmacist who will be able to give you more details about flu vaccine availability at their pharmacy (dates and times), tips on how to prevent transmission, and treatment options to help you feel better.
The information in this article is presented strictly for informational purposes only, and should not be taken as medical advice. Please see your health care provider if you have any questions about your condition, medication, or treatment.