Winter is here and the flu season is beginning to spread. “This year there are three strains of flu that we expect to be circulating the country: the A strain, also known as H3N2; the B Strain; and last year’s pandemic, the H1N1 strain,” explains Jeff Dimond of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

1. Take time to get a Flu vaccine. Everyone 6 months of age and older should get vaccinated, especially those at high risk due to pregnancy, young children, those with chronic health conditions and those over 65 years old.

2. Take everyday preventive actions to stop the spread of germs.

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your sleeves, rather than coughing directly into their hands. Or use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
  • Wash hands (using warm water and soap) for at least 20 seconds before meals and during bathroom breaks.
  • Use hand sanitizer regularly and when access to water and soap is not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid contact with sick people and stay away from others to avoid infecting them.
  • Return to work- follow the 24 hour rule: You need to stay home until you meet the rule of no fever for 24 hours and your last dose of a fever-reducing medicine was given 24 hours prior to returning.

3. Take Flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them. These drugs must be started within first 2 days of symptoms. It is not an antibiotic and only reduces the severity of symptoms and prevents serious flu complications.

Author: Deborah Goza, MS, RN, COHNS, CCM
Editor: Lisa Perry