Common sense can help stop spread of flu

Published 2:13 pm Monday, December 30, 2013

You know the drill by now.

Get a flu shot.

Wash your hands. Then wash them again.

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Get plenty of sleep.

Skip the fast food and opt for a few vegetables with dinner.

These are a few steps you can take to help fend off the flu.

Here in Alabama, flu season has hit hard.

We’re among 10 states that is reporting widespread flu activity, according to information released by the Centers for Disease Control.

That means that more half of the state’s geographic regions are reporting flu cases.

You guessed it, our region is one of them.

If you haven’t received a flu shot yet, it’s not too late.

The flu shot is the best way to protect against influenza.

Health experts now recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older get vaccinated against influenza. While everyone should get a flu vaccine each flu season, it’s especially important that the following groups get vaccinated either because they are at high risk of having serious flu-related complications or because they live with or care for people at high risk for developing flu-related complications:

  • Pregnant women
  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • People 50 years of age and older
  • People of any age with certain chronic medical conditions
  • People who live in nursing homes and other long–term care facilities
  • People who live with or care for those at high risk for complications from flu, including: health care workers, household contacts of persons at high risk for complications from the flu, and household contacts and out of home caregivers of children less than 6 months of age.

We know that some of you will opt not to get the flu shot.

You can still take steps to prevent catching the flu, such as avoiding close contact with sick people, practicing good health habits like getting plenty of sleep and exercise, drinking plenty of fluids, eating healthy foods, and covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.

To keep from spreading the flu, if you are sick with flu-like illness, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the use of fever-reducing medicine.

Common sense can go a long way in tamping down the spread of influenza.