Flu season is now upon us.& That's the bad news. But the good news is that this year's flu vaccine is well-matched to this year's strain. That means it's highly effective.
More good news is that it isn't too late to get your flu shot. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control, you can get the flu shot at any time during the flu season. They say it's best to get vaccinated in October or November, but better to do it after that than not at all.
Getting your flu shot is easy and relatively inexpensive. Many pharmacies offer flu shots, and you don't even need an appointment. According to the CDC, getting the flu vaccine is the best protection against getting the flu. Nearly 24,000 Americans die from the seasonal flu every year. The very young, very old, and those with compromised immune systems are at greatest risk.
In addition to getting your flu shot, you can further protect yourself from the flu by washing your hands, remembering to lather for 20 seconds. If soap and water are unavailable, use hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol, on every nook and cranny on your hands, making sure to rub until your hands are dry.
Don't touch your eyes, inside your nose, your mouth or any other "openings" without first washing your hands or sanitizing them. And make it a practice to wipe-down frequently touched objects such as telephones, keyboards, doorknobs, etc. Germs can stay on some surfaces for days!
Another effective flu-preventing measure is to strengthen your immune system. That starts with getting plenty of rest! At least eight hours! Then eat right, lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and you may want to consider taking supplements like a multivitamin, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin D.
Also reduce stress. Exercise and spending time in prayer and in God's word are proven to reduce stress.
Since the flu is highly contagious, stay away from people who are sick. Unfortunately, people are sick before they or anyone else, know it. That's because people are contagious a full day before they start showing symptoms.
And on the flip side, if you are sick, please be considerate of others and stay away from them. Don't go to work or school until 24 hours after the fever is gone, and that means gone without the use of fever-reducing medications. People infected with the flu may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and until a week after becoming sick.
Also, in order to protect those around you, regardless of whether you think you might be sick, make it a habit to cough or sneeze into your shoulder sleeve or a tissue.
Since the flu is a virus, if you get it, your best bet is to wait it out and treat the symptoms. Hey, grandma was right, medical research shows chicken soup actually works! But there are some people who should go to the doctor and get a prescription antiviral drug to treat the flu. These are the elderly, the very young, people with certain chronic health conditions, and pregnant women.
So here's hoping you don't get the flu this season, and that if you do, that it's mild and doesn't spread to anyone else.