The flu season is upon us and one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy - and not just during this time of the year when you are most likely to catch the flu, but all year long - is to wash your hands. It is a great defense against illness. If you can’t get to the soap and water right away, use hand sanitizer to keep your hands clean. And do your very best not to touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
Another very important defense against the flu is the seasonal vaccine. While there are many different flu viruses, the seasonal flu vaccine helps to protect you from the strains research shows will most likely cause the most illness. The vaccine can protect you from getting sick or help to lessen the intensity of the flu should you get it.
But keep in mind that the seasonal flu vaccine will not provide protection against the flu caused by the H1N1 virus. A separate vaccine, available in the nasal and injectable form, has been developed to help prevent this strain of the flu. Like the seasonal flu, the illness caused by H1N1 can cause fever, chills and coughing.
Read our checklist of things you can do to avoid getting the flu.
Cover your mouth
This one requires a constant reminder: Don’t cough or sneeze into your hands! Instead, cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing.
Avoid close contact and stay at home
It’s best to stay at home when you’re sick so you can protect others from getting sick and more importantly, so you can get the rest that healing requires.
Call your doctor
Regardless of which strain of the flu strikes, once you are sick it is best to consult with your doctor about the best treatment options.
Practice good living habits
Not enough can be said about how important it is to adopt healthy lifestyle habits. It is essential to one’s well being! Now that the New Year is upon us, commit to eating nutritious foods, exercising, managing your stress, and getting plenty of sleep. Every single one of these lifestyle habits will help you to maintain good health.
Courtesy of Archna Parmar, D.O., an internist who practices at the Saint Peter’s University Hospital Comprehensive Care Group at Piscataway. The Comprehensive Care Group can be reached at 732-565-5432. Please visit www.saintpetershcs.com/FindAPhysician/ to find a physician.