We’re at the tail end of National Influenza Vaccination Week, established by the Centers for Disease Control to highlight the importance of continuing the flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This year, the CDC says too few people have received the flu shot this year, while at the same time, it’s anticipated to be one of the worst flu seasons in years.
It turns out that the flu season in Australia is an indicator as to how Americans may be impacted. There were “record-high numbers of laboratory-confirmed influenza notifications and outbreaks, and higher-than-average numbers of hospitalizations and deaths [in Australia],” according to Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
So, what can people do? There are three main ways to prevent flu:
- Get vaccinated. The best time to get the vaccine is in the fall, from the beginning of October to early November, but it’s still not too late.
- Practice good hygiene (such as handwashing and cleaning).
- Take antiviral medication if you’ve been exposed to or start exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
In addition to the above tips, because dry air helps the flu virus live longer, consider using a humidifier to keep humidity at 30 to 50 percent. Also, avoid touching your nose and eyes, to reduce the chance of transferring any virus you might have on your hands.
While not 100 percent effective, the annual flu vaccine can help reduce your risk of getting the flu each year. However, it won’t work against every possible type of flue virus.
At Vitality, our members vaccinate against the flu and earn Vitality Points for doing so! If you haven’t received your flu shot yet, we encourage you to do so and to make sure your friends and family members do the same.