As the weather starts to cool down and the leaves begin to change color, that can only mean one thing: flu season is just around the corner. Every year, millions of people worldwide are affected by the flu, and while for some it may just be a nuisance, for others it can be a severe illness. The best way to protect yourself and your family is to be prepared. Here’s what you need to do to get ready for flu season.
1. Get a flu shot.
This is the most important thing you can do to prepare for flu season. The flu shot contains an inactivated virus that helps your body build immunity against the real thing. It usually takes about two weeks for the immunity to develop, so getting the shot as soon as possible is crucial. Some people are hesitant to get the flu shot because they’re afraid of needles, but modern flu shots are now available in needle-free options like nasal mist.
You can usually find them at your local family clinic or pharmacy. Many workplaces and schools also offer on-site flu shots to employees and students. If you’re unsure where to get a flu shot, you can search for a location near you online. Just enter your zip code and choose a date or time convenient for you.
2. Wash your hands often and thoroughly.
One of the main ways the flu virus spreads is through contact with contaminated surfaces. Virus particles can live on surfaces like doorknobs, countertops, and phones for up to 48 hours. They also can spread through contact with respiratory secretions, like saliva and mucus. That’s why it’s essential to wash your hands often, especially during the peak of flu season.
Use soap and water and scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water aren’t available, alcohol or an alcohol-based sanitizer can help kill germs. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Be sure to wash your hands first if you must touch your face.
3. Disinfect common areas in your home.
In addition to washing your hands, you should disinfect surfaces in your home that people frequently touch, such as door handles, countertops, light switches, etc. This will help kill any germs that you may have brought into the house on clothing or shoes.
You can use a household cleaning spray or wipes to disinfect surfaces. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the label. Some surfaces, like stainless steel, may require special cleaners. Not all disinfectants kill all types of germs, so it’s essential to choose the right one for the job.
4. Stock up on supplies
The flu season usually peaks in the winter, so it’s a good idea to have some supplies on hand in case you or your family members get sick. This way, you won’t have to go out in the cold if someone gets the flu. Some of the supplies you should have on hand include:
-Disposable face masks
-Rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer
-Pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen
You should also have a supply of food and water in case you need to stay home for an extended period of time. Non-perishable food items like canned soup, crackers, and peanut butter are good to have on hand. And be sure to have a supply of clean drinking water in case the tap water is contaminated.
5. Stay home if you’re sick.
Finally, if you start feeling sick, it’s important to stay home from work or school, so you don’t spread the illness to others. Make sure you have plenty of supplies on hand so you don’t have to go out if you start feeling under the weather. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot, so there’s no need to worry about that.
Don’t try to tough it out. If you have the flu, staying home and resting until you’re feeling better is best. Drink plenty of fluids, and take pain relievers to help with aches and pains. And if your symptoms seem to worsen or you develop a fever of 104 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, it’s time to see a doctor.
Flu season is nothing to sneeze at—pun intended!—so it’s essential to take steps now to prepare yourself and your family for whatever might come our way. By getting a flu shot, washing your hands, disinfecting common areas in your home, stocking up on supplies, and staying home if you’re sick, you can help reduce your risk of getting sick this season. So get started early on preparing for flu season today!