5 Ways to Protect Yourself and Your Family From the Flu

The flu is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through contact with someone who is already sick, most commonly through coughing or tracking germs from surfaces like door handles, computer keyboards and phones. Anyone can get the flu, but some people are more susceptible to complications than others, including infants and young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems.

In order to keep yourself and your family safe and healthy during flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends taking a few precautions:

1. Get a Flu Shot

The CDC recommends that everyone able to get the flu shot do so every year. Because every strain of the flu is different, getting a shot every year is necessary to protect yourself from the current strain.

2. Wash Your Hands

Because coughing and sneezing into your hands, coming into contact with contaminated surfaces or coming into physical contact with someone who is sick can easily make you ill, keeping your hands clean is one of the most effective ways to avoid colds and the flu. If you have children, encourage them to use tissues instead of their hands and to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. They should also avoid close contact with sick friends and classmates until those children are feeling better.

3. Stay Home When You Are Sick

Staying home and resting when you have the flu is the best way to protect yourself and others from getting sick.

4. Boost Your Immune System With a Healthy Diet

A strong and healthy immune system is the best protection against illness. Eating a balanced diet with enough fruit, veggies and essential nutrients is the best place to start.

5. Disinfect Often

Cold and flu germs can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Wipe down surfaces regularly with a disinfectant to minimize the risk when people in your home or office are sick.

If you are experiencing flu symptoms or would like more information and tips on staying healthy through flu season, contact UAB Medical West Hospital today to learn more and to schedule an appointment.