Flu season usually starts in October, and that may feel like a long way off. But why not get prepared? Plus, be honest – how many times have you made it halfway through flu season without managing to get your flu shot?
Here’s a little tip sheet. Learn how to lower your risk of getting the flu, which affects 1 to 2 out of 10 Americans each year—some seriously. And review the checklist below to make sure you have supplies on hand, just in case you do get sick.
Prevent the Spread
Follow these tips to help prevent the spread of flu. When appropriate, teach children these tips as well.
- Get vaccinated for seasonal flu in September or whenever the vaccine becomes available. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.
- Whenever possible, stay away from people who are sick.
- Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing, and then throw it away. If you don’t have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your sleeve.
- Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after coughing or sneezing. You can also use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Using a household disinfectant, regularly wipe down surfaces you touch often – doorknobs, counters, telephones, and remotes, for example.
- If you get sick, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever or signs of fever end.
- Know your company’s policy for sick days, and make sure you have a bank of days you can depend upon. Also have a backup plan for childcare.
- If you can, keep the sick person in a separate room. Have games, coloring books, or movies on hand for entertainment in the sick ward!
Stock Up on Supplies
No time like the present! (And it’s not much fun to make a run to the drug store when you’re sick, is it?) Here’s what you can do to prepare:
- Check your medicine cabinet. Do you have a pain reliever, fever reducer, decongestant, lozenges, and cough syrup on hand? Double check expiration dates and review doses for the different members of your family.
- If you take a prescription medication or have a chronic illness, make sure you have the medicines you need.
- Make sure your thermometer and humidifier are in working order.
- Also, buy a few extra boxes of tissues, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. When flu season starts, put a bottle of hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol in every room.
- Freeze some leftovers or purchase some easy-to-make and easy-to-digest foods. Don’t forget to include lots of fluids – so important for a speedier recovery.
- And what about Fido or Bella? Don’t let pet food or cat litter run out.