1. Wash your hands. Studies suggest that most people wash their hands incorrectly. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you scrub your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, being careful to focus on your fingernails and between your fingers.
2. Use sanitizer. While it shouldn’t serve as a replacement for hand washing, alcohol-based sanitizer is capable of killing the influenza virus. Just make sure to choose a product that has at least 60 percent alcohol content.
3. Disinfect surfaces. You can reduce the risk of transmission by cleaning surfaces you regularly touch. This includes remote controls, doorknobs, computer keyboards, smartphones and shopping cart handles.
4. Practice good hygiene. Make sure to wash your hands before eating or handling food. You should also avoid touching your face, since virus particles can enter the body through the ears, nose, eyes and mouth.
5. Get vaccinated. According to the CDC, this year’s flu vaccine is only 30 percent effective. While that number may seem low, it still means that you will be 30 percent less likely to end up at the doctor if you get vaccinated. Visit any PhysicianOne Urgent Care to receive the flu vaccine.
6. Stay home if you’re sick. If you begin feeling ill, stay home from work to keep from spreading germs. You should also closely monitor children and keep them home from school if they start showing signs of illness.
7. Hydrate. Whether it’s water, chicken soup, tea or Pedialyte, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids, so your body can effectively combat a flu infection.
8. Treat your symptoms. You can reduce flu symptoms by taking over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines or decongestants. Just be careful not to take two medications that include the same active ingredients. If you aren’t sure which medications to take, speak with your doctor or pharmacist. Visit any PhysicianOne Urgent Care at the on-set of symptoms for evaluation and to understand which medications are appropriate for you.
9. Watch for complications. In the vast majority of cases, people recover from the flu at home without any trouble. Sometimes, however, the flu can cause dangerous complications that require emergency medical care. If you or a family member gets sick, keep an eye out for breathing difficulties, red or patchy-colored skin, dehydration or a very high fever. You should also see a doctor if you have existing medical problems that might leave you more susceptible to flu-related complications.
If you suspect you have the flu, visit any PhysicianOne Urgent Care. Early evaluation for flu is important.