Every year, 5-20% of the population comes down with the flu. Most people only experience mild symptoms, don’t require any medical attention, and recover in a week or so.
For higher-risk folks, including young children, seniors, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems, catching the flu could mean a trip to the hospital.
That’s why our team at Pro-Health Urgent Care of Midland makes flu prevention such a high priority. Here are a few practical things you can do to keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe this flu season.
Understanding the flu season
You’ve likely heard the term “flu season” more than once. But when does flu season really happen?
In reality, the flu is a year-round problem, but in the United States, it gets worse during the fall and winter seasons. This happens for a number of reasons. First, the colder temperatures force people inside, which allows the virus to travel easily from person to person.
Colder, drier temperatures also create the ideal conditions for viruses to spread, and the lack of sunlight contributes to a weakened immune system. And in places like Michigan where we experience more extreme changes in seasons, these factors are even more prevalent.
The good news is you can equip yourself and your family to take on this coming flu season with these simple strategies.
Avoid close quarters
The flu virus is incredibly contagious and can jump from person to person quickly. For that reason, we recommend keeping your distance from those who are sick.
Stay home when you’re sick
In addition to avoiding folks who are sick, we also recommend that you take the same precautions and stay home from school, work, and errands when you get the flu.
It’s also important that you get treatment right away to shorten your sickness as much as possible. You’re most contagious the first 3-4 days after your illness begins, and you can infect others for up to seven days.
Cover your mouth and nose
The fastest way to spread the flu is to release your germs into the open air. Covering your coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue goes a long way in keeping your germs to yourself.
Keep your hands clean
Many people vastly underestimate the power of regular hand-washing. Clean your hands thoroughly in warm soapy water, scrubbing the backs of your hands and under your fingernails.
If soap and water aren’t readily available, have a supply of hand sanitizer nearby.
Avoid touching your face
The flu virus mainly spreads through droplets made when people cough, sneeze or talk, but it can also spread if you touch something that’s contaminated and then touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
Go a step further and keep frequently touched surfaces at home clean by disinfecting them regularly.
Practice other healthy habits
You can also prevent the flu simply by practicing healthy habits, such as:
- Getting plenty of sleep
- Staying hydrated
- Getting regular physical activity
- Eating a healthy diet
- Getting vaccinated
You may also consider taking vitamins and supplements to fill in the gaps in your diet. The best vitamins and nutrients to support your immune system include vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, elderberry, echinacea, and probiotics.
Do you want more information about what to expect this flu season? We’re open seven days a week for in-office and telehealth visits. Call our office in Midland, Michigan, or request an appointment online today.