How to stay healthy during flu season
Lynne Sullivan, MD, Family Practice, Kaiser Permanente Burien Medical Center
It’s that time again—along with pumpkin spice, falling leaves, and rain, we’re heading into flu season. Make sure you’re staying healthy this fall and winter- and plan ahead now.
Facts about the Flu Shot
Get the flu shot NOW!
• The flu shot takes two weeks to protect you against the flu. We start to see the worst cases in October, so get vaccinated NOW so that you are ready in time! Get the u shot from your local clinic, healthcare provider, or pharmacy.
Flu shot protects you AND the community.
•Flu shot protects you and it also helps protect those around you. When you’ve been vaccinated, you won’t spread the u to your friends, family, or coworkers.
Everyone over 6 months old should get vaccinated.
•There are different vaccines for different age groups and for folks with different considerations, like pregnant women. Your healthcare provider will make sure you get the right one for you. Flu shots are ESPECIALLY important for those most likely to have serious illnesses including infants and children under five, pregnant women, people with chronic illnesses (like diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease), and people over sixty five.
What if I get sick?
• Stay home if you’re sick! When you are sick, your body needs rest. Going to school, work, or anywhere else could slow your recovery and put everyone around you at risk for getting sick. Stay home, drink fluids, and rest.
Stop the spread of germs.
• Cough into your elbow instead of into your hands. Germs can live for days on surfaces like tabletops and doorknobs, so clean shared surfaces regularly and wash your hands frequently.
If you have the flu, get care right away.
• Flu feels different from a regular cold. It comes on quickly, stars with fevers of 100.5F or higher, and o en comes with headaches or body aches. Sometimes a sore throat or cough follows. If you develop these symptoms, contact your healthcare provider right away. The medication that can shorten the duration of the flu helps most if you start it within the first two days. Again, this is ESPECIALLY true for infants, children under 5, pregnant women, and anyone over 65. Take advantage of online or phone visits with your doctor when possible so that you can stay home and avoid making others sick.
Keeping our community healthy during u season takes all of us. Flu can be a serious illness that caused thousands of deaths in the US last year, so we need to take it very seriously. By getting your flu shot and doing your part to stop the spread of germs, you can protect yourself, your family, your coworkers, and your friends. My colleagues and I are here to take care of you if you need us, but we’d much rather that nobody gets sick in the first place!