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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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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