Prepare For The Flu

Mindy Cho, Writer

As the temperatures dip low and the tissues pile up, the seasonal flu has returned to strike again for the year. Some may groan or turn away from this constant reminder as the flu edges closer, however, it’s still important to consider your options and prepare.

Influenza, commonly called the flu, is a contagious respiratory illness that infects the nose, throat, and lungs. The flu is different from a cold, since it can come out of the blue. People experiencing the flu usually have symptoms, such as:

  • Body or muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose

While these symptoms aren’t that severe, they can be for young children, pregnant women, and older adults. This is why the vaccine is recommended for those most vulnerable to the side-effects of this illness.

With new strains of the flu every year, October is a good month to start with flu shots. It’s a month where flu activity is particularly low, and it helps give time to fully build up immunity, which takes at least two weeks. Flu activity usually peaks around January or February and roams around for a couple of months.

Even with the flu shot, there are still possibilities of getting the flu, however do not let this discourage you.

Reasons For Sickness:

  • The vaccine did not have enough time for full immunity
  • You could be having a “flu-like” illness
  • You didn’t fully respond to the vaccine

Although there are chances of getting sick from the flu, there are ways to decrease the chances.

Ways to Prevent:

  • Wash your hands: Not rinsing them with some water, but thoroughly cleaning them with soap and water for around 20 seconds.
  • Avoid contact from those who are sick
  • Cover your mouth with a sleeve or tissue when coughing or sneezing (cough or sneeze into your elbow, not your hand!)

The CDC recommends that the best way to protect yourself and others from the flu is to get vaccinated.