8 Tips for Staying Healthy During Flu Season
Flu season is upon us and while peak flu activity usually occurs between December and March, reports from the CDC and daily news updates indicate early flu activity this season.
While there’s no foolproof way to ensure that you won’t get sick this flu season, there are some steps you can take to keep you and your family safe and healthy and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Here are some tips to help your family stay healthy this flu season!
Psst… RSV is also a huge concern this season , Here’s what parents need to know about RSV and other respiratory illnesses
Know What Flu Symptoms Look Like
It can be difficult to distinguish the flu from the common cold, but the combination of muscle aches, fever and cough are typically telltale signs of the flu. Other common flu symptoms typically include chills, sore throat, headaches and vomiting.
Fill Up Your Medicine Cabinet
Stock up on supplies before someone in your family gets sick. Make sure you have tissues, hand sanitizer and hand soap in the house. Check expiration dates on medicines like pain relievers, decongestants and fever reducers and replace them as needed.
Having these items on hand ahead of time will help you be prepared if someone in your home gets sick during flu season.
Get a Flu Shot
The CDC recommends that everyone six months and older in the United States should get a flu shot every season. Getting vaccinated against the flu is important to prevent contracting the flu and reduce serious complications if you do get the flu, especially for higher risk individuals.
There are different flu vaccines that are approved for people across different age groups. For more information about what vaccine is right for you and others in your family, check out this CDC resource on who should and should not get a flu vaccine.
Keep Your Hands Clean
The flu virus spreads quickly through infected hands. Wash your hands frequently using warm water and soap. Keep hand sanitizer on you so you can wash your hands frequently when you don’t have access to a sink.
Disinfect items around your home that are touched frequently by different people, like doorknobs and remote controls. Avoid touching your face without washing your hands first.
Stay Home If You’re Sick
Staying home when you’re sick gives you a chance to rest and recover more quickly. It also reduces your chance of spreading the virus to other people. While you’re home, take over the counter pain relievers, like acetaminophen and ibuprofen and drink plenty of fluids, including water, hot tea or a sports drink with electrolytes.
Consider Masking Up
If you’ve put your masks away after mask mandates were lifted, it might be a good idea to consider taking them back out. Even if you’re vaccinated against the flu and COVID-19, putting on a mask, especially in crowded indoor settings, can reduce your risk of getting sick. It can also help prevent you from getting others sick.
Reduce the Spread of Germs
Knowing how to keep germs from spreading to other people is an important skill for any time of the year, but it’s especially important during flu season. Teach these strategies to your kids, especially kids in school or daycare.
When possible, cough or sneeze into a tissue, then discard the tissue and wash your hands. If you don’t have a tissue, sneeze or cough into your elbow instead of your hands. And while sharing is usually caring, don’t share things like food and drinks during flu season.
Practice Healthy Habits Throughout the Year
Establishing healthy habits for living well throughout the year can help prevent you from getting sick come flu season. Getting enough sleep at night (seven to nine hours for most people) will help make your immune system stronger and make you less susceptible to getting sick.
Exercising regularly, eating properly and staying hydrated are other good ways to keep your immune system strong.