This week’s Wellness Wednesday column is provided courtesy of Central Carolina Hospital.
As we noted last week, yearly flu shots are recommended as the first and best form of prevention against the flu. And given the challenges posed by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic this year, it has never been more important to be proactive about your health. While getting vaccinated is key in your defense against contracting and spreading of the flu virus. However, prevention doesn’t stop there.
There are several other simple actions you can take to protect yourself and your family, and help prevent the spread of flu and other infections during flu season and year-round, including:
- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or using a hand sanitizer that is at least 60 percent alcohol-based
- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth
- Avoiding sharing food, cups or eating utensils
- Regularly disinfecting your home and belongings, such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas
- Staying home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs
- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, and NOT your bare hands
- Calling your local hospital or your primary care provider with any questions
If you or someone you know begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or other upper respiratory symptoms, please see your healthcare provider right away.
Many of the most common symptoms of flu are consistent with COVID-19, so it may be hard to tell the difference between them. Testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Regardless, it is very important to take action and not ignore symptoms when they occur. You should limit contact with others as much as possible after noticing symptoms, and stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to seek medical care. The good news is that when flu is detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days.
If you have any questions or concerns about this year’s flu season, we can help. Simply call 919.774.2100.