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Reviewed by Dr. Sue Gouge, Galen Mountain View Medicine

Flu prevention is always incredibly important, but this year it’s especially necessary. According to the CDC, both the flu and COVID-19 will be more prevalent than in past years. That’s why we want you to be armed with what you need to help you protect yourself and your family against the flu this season.

Get a Flu Shot

The single best way to avoid getting the flu is to get vaccinated each year. Influenza is a potentially serious disease with the power to lead to hospitalization or even death if not handled appropriately. Every season is different, and likewise every person experiences the flu infection differently and in varying degrees of severity. But that said, millions of people become infected each year with the flu virus, and you can greatly reduce your chances of contracting it if you get a flu shot. Learn more about the flu vaccine and its benefits from the CDC.

Other Ways to Prevent the Flu

Stop the spread of germs to protect yourself and others with these simple tips.

  1. Keep your hands clean! It’s a good idea to wash your hands often to rid them of harmful germs. If soap and water aren’t available, use hand sanitizer.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. These are direct pathways by which germs can enter your body. Germs often spread when a person touches something contaminated and then he or she touches their face.
  3. Cover your cough/sneeze. Germs spread when you cough or sneeze. If you have been infected with the flu, covering your mouth and nose can help prevent the spread of germs to others. The flu, and other respiratory illnesses–like RSV, whooping cough, and COVID-19–are spread through respiratory droplets.
  4. Practice wellness habits. Clean and disinfect your home to kill germs. Eat well. Drink plenty of fluids. Stay active. Get good sleep and manage stress. These things contribute to a healthier immune system and help prevent illness.
  5. Stay home if you’re feeling unwell. Whenever possible, stay home when you feel sick. This will help minimize the germs you spread to others and help prevent illnesses like the flu.
  6. Avoid close contact with others. Especially if you know someone is ill, keep your distance to avoid the spread of germs. We know that 6 feet or more is a safe distance to minimize the spread of COVID-19, and the same concept applies to influenza, and other viruses. So do your best to keep a safe distance from others, especially during flu season.

Staying Safe at Work & School

If you’re working in an office building or in close contact with other people, be sure to take all these safety precautions into consideration during your workday. Routinely clean your hands, and wipe down frequently touched surfaces with sanitizer wipes or cleaner. Make sure your workplace is stocked with things you may need from tissues and soap to hand sanitizer and antibacterial wipes. Of course, if you feel sick while at work, go home as soon as possible to avoid spreading germs to your coworkers and clients.

For school-aged children, make sure they have hand sanitizer available. Teach them proper handwashing techniques, and help them remember to avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths. The CDC has more in-depth information for schools and childcare providers available through their site, much of which is also helpful for parents. If you have any other questions about the flu vaccine, or how to be proactive about flu prevention, check in with your Galen provider today.