Ways to Stay Healthy During the Flu Season
Many media outlets have focused a great deal of attention on the avian flu and whether or not it will become a pandemic. We also need to focus on preparing our families for the normal flu season that hits as winter arrives.
In its current form, avian flu is not very infectious. In contrast, the everyday garden-variety flu we see every winter is highly infectious. Each year, more than 100,000 Americans are hospitalized, and about 36,000 die from the flu and its complications.
Below are some tips on how to prepare your family for the cold and flu season:
Know the difference between a cold and the flu. In most cases of a cold, you will have a runny nose, sneezing, sore throat, a mild cough, mild muscle aches and tiredness but never extreme exhaustion. With the flu most people will run a fever, have muscle aches, extreme exhaustion, severe headaches and a severe cough.
Wash your hands. Frequent washing with warm water and soap for 10 seconds is one of the simplest and most effective ways to avoid catching a cold or the flu.
Disinfect your home and work place regularly. Clean the surfaces in your bathroom, kitchen, desk and telephone with an antibacterial solution.
Get a flu vaccination. The CDC recommends the flu vaccine for all children six months to five years, adults over the age of 50, people living in a long-term care facilities and group homes, pregnant women who will be in the second or third trimester of their pregnancy during the flu season and health care workers.
Eat a well balanced diet, take a multivitamin and get plenty of rest. All of these are crucial in building a healthy immune system.
For more information on influenza, visit the Indiana State Department of Health online at www.in.gov/isdh/healthinfo/influenza_index.htm.
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