Every year, the beginning of flu season is marked by repeated reminders encouraging people to take the proper precautions to avoid catching the virus. While getting a flu shot is quick and easy, the first step of remembering to do it early enough can be the hardest part.
Flu seasons vary depending on where you live, but they typically run from October to May. While many of these reminders focus on protecting children from the flu, it is equally important for adults to take the right steps toward flu protection. Let's take a look at the best strategies for adults to stay healthy and avoid the need for emergency care during this flu season.
Get the Flu Shot
The best way to protect yourself from the flu is to get this year's vaccine. Influenza is the only respiratory virus that you can prevent by getting a vaccine and it's important that you take advantage of that. Many different medical facilities, including local pharmacies and MultiCare Immediate Clinic urgent care centers, offer vaccines early in the season to fight against this dangerous illness. While it is possible to catch the flu if you have been vaccinated, the symptoms are typically milder and you'll be less likely to end up in emergency care because of the illness.
There are a few different types of the vaccine available. Anyone over the age of 18 can opt for an intradermal flu shot; this type of flu shot uses a smaller needle than most other shots. This is because it goes into the top layer of skin rather than the muscle. This is a great option for those with egg allergies since most vaccines are grown inside eggs. The Fluzone high dose is another option that is recommended for people 65 and older who may have weaker immune systems.
No matter the type of vaccine you get, according to the Centers for Disease Control, a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses.
Practice Good Hygiene
The flu is very contagious, making it a particular concern among health professionals. In fact, experts believe that flu droplets can spread through the air as well as on surfaces. It's thought that someone with the flu can spread it to others who are as far as six feet away from them. Living in a six-foot bubble to avoid human contact would be nearly impossible, therefore, a key way to protect against these traveling droplets is to practice good hygiene.
During flu season, be sure to wash your hands frequently. You should do this whenever you come into contact with spaces that others have touched, such as public transportation, counters in stores and restaurants, or shopping carts. Use warm water and soap to sanitize your hands as soon as you can. If you cannot get to a washroom quickly, rely on hand sanitizer and avoid touching your face, as this is the easiest way for any germs you pick up to get into your body. Remember to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze to avoid spreading the virus to others.
Exercise and Eat Healthy
Taking care of your body can go a long way in preventing the flu. By eating balanced, healthy meals, you'll be consuming nutrients that can help strengthen your immune system. Exercise can also give your immune system a much-needed boost during flu season. If you do still get sick, a stronger immune system will help you achieve a faster recovery. Just be sure to avoid exercising in a gym if possible, as these public spaces can be breeding grounds for germs.
The possibility of catching the flu can be worrisome for people of any age. In some cases, symptoms can be enough to warrant urgent care. However, you can protect yourself by following these tips and seeking urgent care as soon as you feel ill.
Take the first step toward your own protection from the flu by walking in to an Immediate Clinic near you for a quick and easy flu shot between 8 am to 8 pm any day of the week. If you have further questions or concerns about the flu, contact Immediate Clinic for more information today.