Getting the flu doesn’t have to be an annual rite of passage. We all know people who brag about their decade-long flu-free streak – and you could be one of them. Nurse practitioner Lori Lipinski, APRN, with Baptist Health Paducah’s Calvert City Clinic shares the top ways to prevent the flu this winter:
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Clean and Sanitize Surfaces
Treat every surface with suspicion. Influenza viruses can live on hard surfaces (like doorknobs) for 24 to 48 hours – and up to 72 hours when those surfaces are wet. If you touch those surfaces and then touch your mouth, nose or eyes, the flu’s got you. Frequent hand-washing is key to preventing the spread of the flu, said Lipinski. Wash, then wash again.
Stay Home if You’re Sick
Keep your sniffles on the couch. This is good news for people who need a day off, bad news for workaholics. You can spread the flu for five to seven days after becoming sick and, unfortunately, a day before the symptoms appear, meaning you could pass it on before you even know you’re sick. If you’re sick, stay home.
Get the Flu Shot
Don’t be afraid of a little shot. “The single best way to prevent the flu is to get vaccinated each year,” said Lipinski. Anyone 6 months old and up can get the vaccine, though you shouldn’t get it if you’re already sick, if you’re immunocompromised or if you’ve had an adverse reaction to the vaccine.
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