Information you need to live a happy, worry-free retirement!
More people sought care for flulike illnesses in the second week of January 2018 than at any comparable period in nearly a decade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported. Because people 65 years and older are at greater risk of serious complications from the flu, prevention is especially important.
But what can you do to stave off this especially brutal flu?
Get a Flu Shot
The CDC says that the best way to prevent the flu is with a flu shot. Flu season generally runs from October through May. But this year’s flu season kicked off earlier than usual, and health officials expecting it to peak over the holidays changed those predictions to early February.
Ideally, you should get the shot at the beginning of the flu season, but health officials say it’s not too late to get a flu shot, if you haven’t already.
Two vaccines are designed especially for the older population. Talk to your doctor about which is best for you. Avoid the nasal spray flu vaccine, the intradermal flu shot, or the jet injector flu vaccine if you are 65 or older, the CDC says.
Practice Healthy Habits
You know the drill by now, but hearing it is a good reminder: avoid touching your nose, mouth and eyes. You can’t stop the person in front of you in the grocery line from sneezing, but you can prevent the spread of some of those germs into your body.
Wash your hands frequently, scrubbing for about 20 seconds. If someone in your house gets sick isolate toothbrushes and launder bedding frequently. Wipe down the remote control and other household items known to harbor germs.
At work, try to avoid shaking hands with someone who is sick and using others’ phones, desks and other items, the U.S. Department of Labor suggests. And keep surfaces like telephones and keyboards clean.
Contact Your Doctor When Symptoms Appear
Even if you’ve done everything possible to prevent catching the flu, you still may get it unfortunately. If you experience any symptoms, it’s best to contact your doctor as soon as you start to feel under the weather. A lab test is the only way to tell if you have influenza. Be seen early and especially if you have other health issues, such as asthma, endocrine disorders, blood disorders, cardiac disease, kidney or liver problems, metabolic disorders or a weakened immune system.
Flu symptoms hit harder and faster than a cold, within hours and include: sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, fever, chills, muscle or body aches, headaches, fatigue and cough.
And the flu can worsen quickly. So don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.