This month’s wellness tip (formerly Benefits’ Brief) focuses on protecting yourself and others during cold and flu season. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends three important steps to take to protect against both colds and influenza:
- Get a flu shot
- Practice frequent and thorough handwashing
- Avoid contact with sick people and limit contact with others if you are ill
The agency recently held a flu vaccine clinic at all three office locations but it is not too late to get the flu shot. The CDC recommends everyone who is six months of age and older getting vaccinated by the end of October, if possible. While you can always visit your healthcare provider, many local businesses also offer the vaccine.
One of the best and simplest defenses against colds and influenza is frequent and thorough handwashing. This one simple habit can stop the spread of viruses and protect ourselves, family, and co-workers. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Don’t forget to disinfect all objects and hard surfaces that may be contaminated
Avoiding contact with sick people is not always possible but if you are ill with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours after a fever has gone. Seek medical treatment if your symptoms suddenly worsen as influenza can lead to dangerous health complications.
Those with compromised immune systems or conditions like asthma are especially at risk and should contact a physician immediately if displaying symptoms of influenza. Antiviral drugs can be prescribed to lessen the side effects and work best for treatment when they are started within two days of a viral illness.