National News

Worried about getting deadly flu? Here are tips to prevent it

Posted January 11, 2018 1:42 p.m. EST

DAYTON, Ohio -- With flu cases increasing and the first pediatric death reported in Ohio, health officials are urging people to get their vaccines and prevent the spread of influenza.

A 4-year-old boy died of the flu earlier this week in Montgomery County, which was the first pediatric death reported in the state. The 2017-18 flu season in Ohio and nationally is looking similar to what was seen during the 2014-15 flu season, which at the time was the most severe flu season in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

These are five tips to follow to prevent getting and spreading the flu:

1. Get the flu vaccine. It's not too late to get the flu vaccine, according to health officials. Flu vaccination prevents millions of illnesses and tens of thousands of flu-related hospitalizations each year. While the flu vaccine can vary in how well it works, people who still get sick may have milder symptoms. You can go to a local pharmacy or your doctor's office.

2. Avoid people who are sick. Keep your distance from people who are coughing, sneezing or presenting other flu symptoms. People suffering from the flu should stay off from work until their symptoms subside.

3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth, according to the CDC. Wash your hands frequently.

4. Clean your cellphone. Disinfect surfaces that you touch frequently, which become a hotbed for germs. Disinfect your keyboard, cellphone, work phone, desk and other surfaces you touch often. Consider using hand sanitizer after touching doors in public spaces. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Strengthen your immune system. A germ invades successfully and makes you sick, according to Harvard Medical School. Is it possible to intervene in this process and boost your immune system?

"Every part of your body, including your immune system, functions better when protected from environmental assaults and bolstered by healthy-living strategies," Harvard medical officials found. Healthy steps to build your immune system include:

Don't smoke.

Eat a diet high in fruits and vegetables.

Exercise regularly.

Maintain a healthy weight.

If you drink alcohol, only drink in moderation.

Get adequate sleep.

Take steps to avoid infection, such as washing your hands frequently and cooking meats thoroughly.

Try to minimize stress.

Kara Driscoll writes for the Dayton Daily News. Email: Kara.Driscoll(at)

Story Filed By Cox Newspapers

For Use By Clients of the New York Times News Service