Be a Pro This Season

Football season is here, but that’s not the only season heading your way. So whether you prefer college to the pros, or if your favorite high school stadium is where you can be found on Friday nights, you need to be sure you are prepared for flu season.

Here are some key plays for you to remember. (And if you aren’t a football fan, these tips work for you, too.)

Get a flu vaccine

Even if you got one last year, you need another this season. Each year, a new flu vaccine is created to give you the best protection against expected strains of the flu. Getting a shot can help you avoid the flu or make it less severe if you do get infected. Everyone 6 years old and older should consider getting the shot.

And something to remember … you cannot get the flu from getting a flu shot. You might feel some soreness or achiness, and you could run a low-grade fever, but these symptoms are very short-lived (usually a day or two) and far less severe compared to actually getting the flu. Don’t fumble on this one — talk to your health care provider today about getting your shot.

Wash your hands

Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But most people don’t wash their hands often enough or thoroughly enough to get rid of the germs and bacteria that can cause and spread the flu and other illnesses. Be sure you wash your hands:

  • Before and after preparing food
  • Before eating
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After using the toilet
  • After blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing
  • After touching an animal
  • After handling pet food or pet treats
  • After touching garbage

And once you get in the habit of washing often, be sure to do it correctly. Here are the steps to a good handwashing.

  • Wet your hands with running water.
  • Apply soap and lather your hands.
  • Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Don’t forget the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails.
  • Rinse well under running water.
  • Use a clean towel or air dry your hands.

Washing hands with soap and water best, but if soap and water are not available, use a hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol. Sanitizers do not remove all germs and are not as effective when hands are visibly dirty.

The flu is not a team sport

Most experts believe that flu viruses spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or just talk. That’s why it is a good idea to avoid close contact with people who are sick.  And if you are sick, stay home from work, school, errands — and the big game — until you get well. And it’s always a good idea to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Instant Replay

Getting a flu vaccine, washing your hands well and often, and avoiding contact with those who are sick will help lower your risk of getting the flu or spreading the germs that cause it. Follow these tips and stay in the game all season.