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Fighting the Flu

Read Dr. Oz’s Advice for Staying Healthy Through Flu Season

Photo: Courtesy of Jaime Cody Photography

The flu can be deadly, but you can protect yourself and those around you by following this advice from celebrity doctor, Dr. Oz.

What products are a must-have in your flu toolkit?

  • 60 percent alcohol-based hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Water. Staying hydrated is important because when you’re sick you lose more fluids.

What can I do now to help keep my family from getting the flu later?

  • At the end of the day, the most important step you can take to protect other people is to get the vaccine yourself, which is both safe and effective.  
  • Some groups of people like infants, older adults, and pregnant women are at particularly high risk for developing serious complications from the flu. You should keep that in mind this flu season.  
  • If you live with a young child, elderly person, or someone who is pregnant, then it might be a good idea for them to start antiviral treatment if they’ve been around someone who has the flu.   
  • Tamiflu, which requires a prescription from a doctor, can be helpful for decreasing the duration of symptoms in a person who has had the flu for less than 48 hours.
  • And if someone in your family is sick with the flu, other members of the family can take this medication to decrease their chances of getting sick, too. Your family doctor can tell you if flu prophylaxis through medication is the right choice for your family member.
  • It’s also important to make healthy decisions that will support your immune system, which will help you fight off infection if you’re exposed to the virus. Sleeping for seven to nine hours a night is a good way to do this, since sleep is an important regulator of immune function.
  • Eating lots of fruits and vegetables and other foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin E will also help your immune system. Prepare meals for your family that include foods like oranges, spinach, kale, salmon, chickpeas, and nuts.

Can you explain why it is so important to get your flu shot early?

  • You should get a flu vaccine before flu viruses begin to spread in your area because it takes about two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body.
  • The best time to get the flu vaccine is the end of October. However, getting vaccinated later can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season, even into January or later.

Besides the flu vaccine, what is the best way to prevent catching the virus?

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Wash your hands! Preferably with soap and water, but you can use an alcohol-based sanitizer if that’s all you have on hand.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth to prevent germs from spreading.

When the flu is circulating at our schools and places of work, what is the best on-the-go solution to combatting the flu?

  • There are a few things that you can do if you’re sick to make sure that other people around you don’t get sick.
  • If you’re sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home for at least 24 hours until you don’t have a fever to keep the virus from spreading to others.
  • Also, make sure you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you sneeze. Finally, don’t forget to wash your hands!   
  • At work, make sure tissues, no-touch trashcans, and hand sanitizer are easily accessible to all in public spaces.
  • If a colleague or classmate appears unwell and seems to have symptoms, you can recommend they go home. The best way to recover from the flu is by getting plenty of sleep and rest. At the same time, limiting exposure will prevent others from getting sick.
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