Avoiding the flu this season

Published 6:47 pm Thursday, October 26, 2017

Flu season is here, and with it comes nausea, fever, muscle aches and runny noses. There’s no doubt about it. The flu is no fun.

However, there are ways for all residents to protect themselves from contracting the flu virus this season. Avoiding the illness is especially important for those with weakened immune systems, small children and elderly adults, as serious complications (some fatal) can arise.

Health officials in Beaufort County — and across the United States — emphasize the importance of getting a flu shot each year.

The flu vaccine has been found to reduce the risk of doctor visits by 50-60 percent when the vaccine viruses are going around, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Multiple studies have also found the vaccine significantly reduces trips to the pediatric ICU, as well as hospitalization related to the flu for those 50 and older.

“A flu vaccination does not guarantee protection against the flu. Some people who get vaccinated might still get sick. However, people who get a flu vaccine are less likely to get sick with flu or hospitalized from flu than someone who does not get vaccinated,” reads information from the CDC.

Medical providers also stress the importance of getting a flu shot every year. There are many strains of the flu virus, and they can mutate from year to year. Flu vaccines are designed to keep up with these changes and stop the virus in its track.

The following tips are other ways to avoid contracting and/or giving the flu to others this season:

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available;
  • Avoid contact with sick people;
  • Stay home when sick;
  • Cough or sneeze into tissues and discard them properly.

With the holidays approaching and plans being made, it’s important to stay healthy and do one’s best to avoid the flu virus.