Right before we gear up for the yearly holiday festivities, some of us get hit with the flu. It is almost a rite of passage. It is highly contagious and can affect anyone, no matter how healthy they feel.
And then there is the age-old conversation about whether or not you should get a flu shot and if it will work or make you sick. It just seems like there is no winning when it comes to fighting the flu (aka influenza). But, maybe there is. Influenza is the only respiratory virus that is preventable by vaccine.
Regardless of which camp you sit in on the pros and cons to a yearly flu shot, the data proves it helps. And if you have very young or elderly around, it has been shown to be 80% effective in preventing flu-related illness and death.
While there is no guarantee you won’t get the flu or you won’t get a different strain than the shot you received, there are also many preventative measures that can be taken to help the odds:
**wash your hands often with soap and water
**use hand sanitizer when out and about
**cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
**avoid touching your face with unwashed hands
**smiling and laughing boosts your immune system
**eating healthy and balanced strengthens your body
**exercise will give you protection and help with a speedier recovery
If you do choose to get the flu shot in addition to the above, good for you! Each year, more than 200,000 people in the U.S. are hospitalized with influenza or complications from it. And, up to 56,000 people die each year from flu-related causes. Prevention is key.
**get your shot early
**get the shot in your non-dominant arm
**most insurances provide free shots
**if you are elderly, young or pregnant, be sure to consult on which vaccine and dose is best for you
Finally, if you are unfortunate enough to get the dreaded flu, be sure to take heed:
**stay home until your fever is gone for 24 hours without fever reducing medicine to avoid spreading
**if your fever does not subside or gets too high, seek immediate attention
**thoroughly clean all utensils and areas in your home so others do not get infected
**make sure you are getting plenty of fluids and nutrients for strength
The flu season is a given. But getting the seasonal flu is not. Be diligent in your preventative measures, including vaccines.