Fayetteville, Ga. (December 18, 2013) – The holiday season isn’t the only season in full swing. December marks the beginning of peak flu season, making it all the more important to take extra precautions to prevent flu.
“Influenza has the potential to be a serious illness that may be prevented with a safe and effective vaccine,” said Colleen Bridier RN, BSN, MSN-HCSM, CIC, director of infection prevention and control at Piedmont Fayette Hospital. “It’s inevitable that you will come in contact with germs. People are most contagious and most likely to spread the flu prior to the onset of symptoms and when it may not be obvious they are sick.”
Bridier recommends the following tips to prevent the spread of flu:
1. Get a flu shot. Getting vaccinated is the single most effective measure to take in order to guard against the flu. Everyone aged six months or older should get a flu shot, especially if they are at high risk.
2. Wash your hands. Frequent and thorough hand washing is an easy way to prevent the spread of germs. Keep alcohol-based gel on hand for times when there is no access to soap and water.
3. Stay at home when sick. Social distancing is important because people who have the flu can spread it to others up to about six feet away through droplets made by coughing, sneezing or talking.
Other measures that can be taken to prevent flu include getting plenty of rest, drinking at least eight glasses of water a day, staying active and eating nutritious meals. At the office, wipe down the keyboard, phone and mouse after lunch and at the end of the day, especially if other people use the same workstation.
If, despite these efforts, flu symptoms like sore throat, fever or body aches present, there are ways to shorten the length of the illness and avoid spreading the flu to loved ones.
“If you suspect you have the flu, consider seeing your primary care physician,” suggests Bridier. “There are medications that may shorten the duration of influenza if started within the first 48 hours of illness.”
For more information about influenza, visit http://www.cdc.gov/flu/.