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Flu prevention: Keeping the doctor away

Posted November 30, 2015
Updated November 28

The flu vaccine protects against the most common flu strains and can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu.

This story was written for our sponsor, the N.C. Division of Public Health.

With the season of holiday cheer also comes influenza fear. Here are some tips to help you prevent the flu from dragging down the holidays.

Vaccination

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, "a yearly flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against flu viruses." The flu vaccine protects against the most common flu strains and can reduce flu illnesses, doctors' visits, and missed work and school due to flu, as well as prevent flu-related hospitalizations and deaths.

Anyone 6 months or older can be vaccinated. It is highly advised that parents and caretakers of children 6 months or younger be vaccinated, as those children are at high risk for serious and dangerous flu illness.

Everyday Preventative Actions

  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill
  • Wash hands with soap and water or use alcohol based hand-sanitizer
  • If sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for 24 hours after the fever has passed
  • Routinely clean often-touched surfaces in the home or office, such as doorknobs, phones, handles and keyboards.
  • Avoid all human contact
  • Maintain healthy lifestyle habits as best as possible, including getting enough sleep and eating well, to help keep your immune system strong

Antiviral Medication

If you become sick with the flu, your doctor can prescribe antiviral medication that can help lessen your symptoms and shorten the length of your illness. Antivirals -- different from antibiotics, which fight bacteria -- can make all the difference for people who are high-risk and turn a potentially serious or even deadly illness into a milder and shorter one.

This story was written for our sponsor, the N.C. Division of Public Health.

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