It’s Not Too Late to Protect Yourself Against the Flu

flu vaccineWe’re in the middle of an especially active flu season—one we hope is almost over. However, it’s not time to call the “all clear” yet. Stay vigilant against the flu for a healthy late winter and early spring. Here are three things you can do to guard against the flu:

  • Get a flu shot.

Though we are in the midst of flu season, you can still get a flu shot to protect yourself against the flu virus.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reports that while flu season usually peaks in January or February, it is not too late to get a flu shot. According to HHS, if you get the flu vaccine you are 60-percent less likely to need treatment for the flu by a healthcare provider. Getting the vaccine has been shown to offer substantial other benefits, including reducing illness, antibiotic use, time lost from work, hospitalizations and deaths.

  • Avoid touching the T-zone.

The T-zone includes the eyes, nose and mouth area.

“While it is important to contain coughs and sneezes, most flu transmissions happen when a person touches a contaminated surface (such a light switch or doorknob) and then touches his or her eyes, nose or mouth,” said Sue Schleyhahn, RN, an infection prevention nurse at Memorial Medical Center

  • Wash with soap and water for 15 seconds.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes hand washing as a “do-it-yourself” vaccine. In addition to protecting yourself from contracting viruses and infections – such as the flu – clean hands prevent the spread of germs to other people.

To properly wash hands, lather with soap and water for 15 seconds. Rinse completely, and dry with a hand dryer, clean cloth or paper towel.

When soap and water is not available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol. Rub the product over the entire surface of hands and fingers until dry.

Be careful and keep yourself—and others around you—healthy throughout the rest of winter. By taking necessary precautions, it’s not too late to prevent the flu or greatly reduce its intensity. If you do get sick and need to see a physician, Memorial’s ExpressCare is available to help.