Getting Ahead of Cold & Flu Season
Get the Flu Shot
When it comes to protecting yourself from the seasonal flu, getting vaccinated is the single most effective way from getting sick and having serious health complications. According to the CDC, everyone 6 months and older should get the seasonal influenza vaccination at least once each year.
How the Flu Shot Protects You
When you get the seasonal flu vaccine, it reduces your risk of getting sick with the flu and protects you from serious health complications if you do get sick.
Whether you get the shot or the nasal spray, the flu vaccine helps your immune system develop the right antibodies to help your body prevent infection from the flu virus. After getting vaccinated, it takes about two weeks for these antibodies to develop, making it beneficial to get vaccinated earlier on in the season.
However, it is important to keep in mind that there are certain individuals who shouldn’t get the flu shot. If you're not sure if you’re eligible for a flu shot, be sure to reach out to your primary care doctor.
Wash Your Hands Properly
Whether you realize it or not—people are constantly touching their eyes, nose, and mouth throughout the day. If you touch your face with unwashed hands, you can introduce illness-causing bacteria into your body. By washing your hands properly and frequently, you can help to minimize your exposure to these germs and reduce your risk of getting sick.
Each time you go to wash your hands, remember to follow these steps:
- Wet your hands with clean running water.
- Lather your hands with antibacterial soap, getting between your fingers and under your nails.
- Scrub your hands for 20 seconds.
- Rinse your hands with clean running water.
- Dry your hands with a disposable hand towel.
Use Alcohol-Based Sanitizers
While you’re out and about, running water and soap isn’t always readily available to wash your hands. While that is the best way to keep your hands germ-free, using alcohol-based sanitizer is a viable alternative.
When using hand sanitizer, follow these tips to make sure your efforts are effective:
- Make sure your sanitizer is at least 60% alcohol.
- Use enough sanitizer to cover the surface of your hands.
- Run your hands together until they’re completely dry.
Stay Home if You’re Sick
Along with protecting yourself from getting sick, it's also important to do your part to stop the spread of disease. If you're feeling under the weather, please stay home and keep these tips in mind:
- Stay home for at least 24 hours after having a fever.
- Don’t leave the house until you don’t have a fever without using a fever-reducer.
- Stay home for 4-5 days after symptoms start.
If you have more questions about how you can support your health and wellness this fall, reach out to your primary care doctor.
Immediate Care Options at St. Luke’s
If you need immediate attention and your primary care provider is unavailable, St. Luke's offers a variety of immediate care options where you can be seen without an appointment. To learn more about St. Luke's immediate care offerings, visit our website or give us a call at (218) 249-4000.
If you or a family member is experiencing a life-threatening injury or illness, please call 911.