Influenza, commonly known as flu, is a virus that can be spread by droplets. It can occur anytime of the year, but the majority of cases occur in December through March. Flu vaccines are the single best way to protect yourself from getting the flu. It is best to be vaccinated in early fall, as it takes two to four weeks to build up immunity. You can still develop the flu after being vaccinated, but cases are generally milder than for those that have not been vaccinated.
Frequent handwashing, covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze, and not touching your face are all good hygiene practices that help prevent the spread of germs. Exercise and a healthy diet are ways to help boost your immune system, which helps fight off the flu and other viruses.
If you have been exposed to the flu, but you haven’t exhibited any symptoms, antivirals can be given as a preventative through your medical provider. If you get diagnosed with the flu, it is best is to stay home until you are fever-free and symptom-free for 24 hours to avoid spreading the flu to other people. Even though the flu is contagious, the above recommendations can be an effective way to stay healthy during this flu season.
Jenna Bosch, CRNP is with Norwood Clinic
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