Stop the Flu in its Tracks
Though flu seasons are unpredictable in a number of ways, colder weather across the country generally marks the beginning of the season. Each year, thousands of people in the United States are hospitalized or die from influenza (the flu). For this reason the Center for Disease Control recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting yourself. For additional information refer to the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm.
The flu is a contagious disease that is caused by a virus and is spread by coughing, sneezing and close contact. When untreated, it can lead to pneumonia and make existing medical conditions worse. The most common symptoms include fever, muscle aches, fatigue, headache, and runny or stuffy nose.
In addition to getting your flu vaccination, there are other ways to help safeguard yourself from getting sick. These include:
- Keep your germs to yourself. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Also, be sure to wash your hands often with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, where bacteria is most present. Clean and disinfect surfaces that may be contaminated with germs.
- If you do get sick, stay home! It is important to rest and recover. If you have a fever, you are contagious. Being in close proximity to patients, visitors or co-workers can pass the virus on to them. Remember to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever has passed.
- Take flu antiviral medications if prescribed by your physician. Studies show that flu antiviral drugs work best when they are started within two days of the start of your illness.
With these helpful tips at hand, you will not only be helping protect your own health, but also the health of others around you!
Don’t forget, getting vaccinated is your first line of defense against the flu. Emory Healthcare employees can access the flu marathon schedule here: ourehc.org/flu. Emory University employees can learn about options for receiving a vaccine at http://www.hr.emory.edu/eu/wellness/flushots/flushots.html.