The Los Angeles Times reports that an early outbreak of the flu threatens to make this year’s influenza season one of the most difficult in recent years. Dozens of Orange County residents have already reported suffering from the flu and NBC reports at least two people have died. It’s important to take preventive measures to keep your family healthy. The most effective way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated.
There are 2 ways to get vaccinated; the traditional flu shot or a nasal spray called FluMist, which is ingested through the nose and intended for healthy children age 2 and over who don't want to take the shot. FluMist may not be available everywhere flu vaccinations are given, so check with your provider.
Two weeks following vaccination, the body develops antibodies to protect against infection, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC). With the flu making its early arrival this year, make sure you get yourself and your family vaccinated!
Aside from vaccination, there are additional ways to prevent getting or spreading the flu, courtesy of Flu.gov:
- Wash your hands frequently
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth, since this is how germs spread
- Practice healthy habits such as getting plenty of sleep, exercising, drinking lots of fluids, and eating healthy meals
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough
Those at risk for developing flu-related complications include: children ages five and younger, adults 65 and older, pregnant women and anyone with a pre-existing medical condition. Be on the lookout for symptoms which can include, but are not limited to: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, chills, runny/stuffed up nose and fatigue. If you do experience these symptoms, take a sick day! While you are home getting better, you are preventing others from becoming infected.
Fight the flu and protect your family by scheduling regular checkups and getting vaccinated. Find a doctor online or call 1-800-MEMORIAL/800-636-6742 for a physician referral.