Influenza is expected to make a return this winter. Here’s how you can avoid it.
Temperatures are dropping, the days are getting shorter, and it’s the busiest time of the year; the last thing you need is to catch the flu.
Key Facts About the Flu
Influenza, or flu for short, is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus that mutates every year. While influenza viruses can spread year-round, flu infections peak between the months of December and February. It is spread through tiny droplets projected by those already infected with the flu when they cough, sneeze or talk. The flu was suppressed over the past two winters by measures taken to address the Covid-19 pandemic, such as masking. As those measures have receded, flu is expected to make a return this winter. By taking precautionary steps, you can do your best to avoid it this year.
How to Avoid the Flu
- Avoid close contact. Keep your distance from those who are sick.
- Clean your hands. Frequently wash your hands to help protect yourself from germs.
- Clean surfaces. Disinfect “high-touch” areas like handles and switches where viruses and germs can live.
- Avoid touching your face. Don’t touch your nose, mouth or eyes after touching surfaces.
- Get the flu shot. The flu virus changes every year, and receiving the annual vaccine can help antibodies develop and protect you against that year’s strain.
Common flu symptoms include fever, chills, cough, sore throat and runny nose. If you believe you have the flu, stay home to avoid spreading it. Also, drink plenty of liquids to prevent dehydration and get plenty of rest.
Most people with the flu don’t need medical care, but if you experience difficulty breathing, persistent dizziness or fever, or trouble urinating, seek medical assistance.