The New York State Department announced the official start of flu season on Wednesday, December 28, 2016. For all of us at Catholic Health, this is the official notice to ensure that our associates have been properly vaccinated, or are following proper protocol to prevent spreading the influenza virus. But, what does this mean for the general public? What can we do to help fight the flu?

Preventive Actions During Flu Season

The announcement that flu season is finally here means that cases of the influenza virus are now prevalent in our area. It’s important to be aware of the simple, everyday steps that we can take to prevent the flu from spreading.

According to the CDC, the best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get vaccinated each year. However, they also recommend these six preventive actions to help fight germs that cause respiratory illnesses, like flu.

6 Tips to Fight Flu

  1. Avoid Contact
    Try to avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you become sick yourself, keep your distance from others in an effort to protect them from getting sick too.
  2. Stay Home
    If possible when you’re sick, stay at home from work, school, and even running errands. This will help ensure that you’re not spreading your illness to others.
  3. Cover your nose and mouth
    We’ve been told since we were little to cover our nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing. Believe it or not, this is still one of the best ways to prevent those around you from getting sick.
  4. Wash your hands
    Healthy hand-washing techniques actually helps protect you from germs. When washing your hands, sing “Happy Birthday“ to yourself twice for optimal washing time. Wet, lather, scrub, rinse, and dry for best results. If soap and water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based rub.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth
    Germs are often spread when you touch something that is contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Practice healthy habits
    Healthy habits go a long way in fighting the flu and other germs. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school – especially when someone is ill. It’s also helpful to stay physically active, manage your stress, stay hydrated, and eat nutritious foods.

Seasonal Flu Treatment

These everyday preventative actions help to slow the spread of germs, which can cause many different illnesses. In doing so, they can offer protection against the flu virus.

If you do get the flu, please consult your primary physician as there are prescription anti-viral medications that can treat your illness early on. Early treatment is especially important for the elderly, very young children, pregnant women, and people with chronic health conditions.