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How to keep your family safe this flu season

Flu season is upon us and this year the flu presents bigger risks and considerations than ever before. Common symptoms of the flu include body aches and pain, chills and fever. These symptoms are also common to COVID-19, so it’s important to practice prevention and recognize symptoms if they do occur. Follow these important steps to protect yourself and your family from the flu.

GET A FLU SHOT. Getting an annual flu shot is your best prevention against getting the flu. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults and children six months of age and older get their annual flu vaccination before the end of October. It can take up to two weeks for the flu shot to be truly effective. However, if you have not had your shot yet, it’s not too late. The flu shot is known to be preventive throughout the flu season, which can last from September to May and typically peaks between December and February. So, if you and your family have not gotten the flu shot yet, better late than never!

You can get a flu shot from your doctor, or at most pharmacies or retail grocery stores that have a pharmacy. Many pharmacies will bill your health insurance for a flu shot, but if you are not sure, call ahead.

TAKE DAILY PREVENTIVE STEPS. Even after you get a flu shot, it is important to go use good sense and practice good hygiene to help reduce your exposure to the flu. Everyday precautions include:

Hand washing – wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands whenever you come home from outside, pick up the mail, pet someone’s dog or interact with others. If you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Hand washing – wash your hands often with warm water and soap for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands whenever you come home from outside, pick up the mail, pet someone’s dog or interact with others. If you cannot wash your hands with soap and water, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

Cover your coughs and sneezes.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs and viruses can get into your system easily through the eyes, nose and mouth.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

Clean and disinfect doorknobs, your mailbox, railings and surfaces in your

home. Viruses can live on surfaces.

STOCK UP ON SUPPLIES. No need to go overboard, but having a few key products at home in case someone gets sick can help you manage through an illness more easily. Useful supplies include:

  • Over the counter (OTC) fever-reducers and anti-inflammatory medicines

  • Prescription medications (enough for at least one week)

  • Thermometers for adults and children

  • Alcohol wipes to clean and sanitize thermometers or disposable thermometer probe covers

  • Electrolytes or fluid-replenisher beverages and ginger ale

  • Disinfecting wipes for surfaces and household essentials

STAY ACTIVE. Getting fresh air and activity helps your immune system stay strong and fight off illness. Even taking a daily walk in will help your vascular system stay in tune and keep your body strong.

PRESERVE YOUR FAMILY’S MENTAL HEALTH. This year has already brought many health concerns and stress about staying safe. With your flu shots, daily preventive steps and supplies on hand, you can worry less and know that you are prepared. Help to manage stress across the whole family by:

  • Keeping to a routine: Stick to regular sleep and mealtime patterns as much as possible. This helps your body and mind stay on track and worry less.

  • Schedule some fun: Plan a family movie night or take out from your favorite restaurant.

  • Cook together: If you enjoy cooking, try a new meal that everyone might like and ask for volunteers to help make it

  • Stay organized: Picking up and organizing items around the house can go a long way in helping you feel less stressed and disorganized. Given everyone a task to do regularly to keep things in their place.

IF YOU DON’T FEEL WELL. If you do start to feel cold or flu like symptoms, slow down. Your body’s best defense in fighting illness is rest and hydration. Drink plenty of fluids and take it easy. Contact your doctor if your symptoms are of concern.

It is important to eat right, even if you don’t feel well. Staying hydrated and getting enough fiber and nutrients will help you get better faster. If you want to cook for someone who is not feeling well, try this warm healthy vegetable rich soup recipe.

COVID-19 is on everyone’s mind and flu like systems are common with COVID-19. If you are concerned about your symptoms, contact your doctor. Your doctor may order a test for influenza and/or a test for COVID-19. Many people experience different symptoms for different lengths of time, so talk to your doctor if you have any concerns.

Source: https://healthmatters.nyp.org/how-to-tell-the-difference-between-covid-19-vs-flu/

If you or someone in your family does get sick, follow your doctor’s recommendations and treatment. Also, stay home and protect others from becoming ill. It is important to stay home and away from others for at least 24 hours after a fever has gone (without the use of a fever reducing medication). Showing fever or other symptoms is your best indicator that you may still be contagious.

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/flu/prevent/prevention.htm

Due to health and safety concerns around COVID-19, Roadmap to Health has temporarily suspended all in-person events. We hope everyone is staying safe and as we all work to get through this crisis, Roadmap to Health remains committed to providing informative resources. Please follow us on social media for updates and tips on how to stay healthy during this time.

Roadmap to Health is an innovative mobile health screening program that works to remove barriers to health care and educate individuals about how they can protect, maintain or improve their health.

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