Get the Flu Shot – Take the Lead In Your Health
Everyone over the age of six months old needs and should have a flu vaccine every year. The vaccines are available as an intradermal, intramuscular shot and as a nasal spray. They begin to arrive in doctors’ offices, pharmacies and clinics by mid-September.
Every year, scientists design the vaccine to protect against the types of flu viruses that are expected to be the most prevalent in the coming year. There are two basic types of viruses that can cause the flu – strain A and B. Both types can be potentially serious. “Trivalent” vaccines protect against two A strains and one B strain of flu, while newer quadrivalent vaccines protect against two A and two B strains.
Everyday Preventive Actions
The flu virus can spread by direct contact, such as sharing drinks, or through indirect contact, such as when an infected person sneezes on their hands and touches an object like the lunchroom microwave door. The influenza virus can live for 2-8 hours on surfaces.
In addition to getting vaccinated, the following recommendations should be considered:
- Avoid, if possible, contact with sick people.
- Cover sneezes and coughs.
- Wash hands to reduce the spread of germs. During flu season, everyone should wash their hands frequently to reduce the risk of transmitting germs to others.
- If you are sick, ill with the flu or flu-like symptoms stay home from school or work to prevent the spreading of flu to others.
Know the F.A.C.T.S.
The flu symptoms can be mild or severe, and can come on suddenly – be sure you know your flu treatment options so you can be prepared. Symptoms generally appear 1-4 days after exposure to the virus.
- F – Fever
- A – Aches
- C – Chills
- T – Tiredness
- S – Sudden Onset
Of the treatment options available, prescription antivirals may help make your illness milder or may help you feel better faster.
Antivirals are prescription medications that actively attack the flu virus and stop it from spreading to the rest of your body. In order to be effective, antiviral medications must be taken within the first 48 hours of onset of flu symptoms.
Antivirals For Flu Prevention
Not only can antivirals help treat the flu once you have it, they can also help prevent you from getting the flu if you are exposed to the virus. For example, if a family member is diagnosed with the flu, taking an antiviral can help stop you from becoming infected.