Now that fall is here, flu season has officially arrived. But if you haven’t started to think about how to keep your family healthy during flu season, don’t worry! It’s not too late.
At Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Nuremberg, Freeland, Falls, Hazleton, LaPorte, Wilkes Barre, Noxen, Shickshinny, and Edwardsville, Pennsylvania, our expert providers want you to know the top four ways to stay healthy during flu season. Keep reading for our tips, including what to do if you think you have the flu.
When someone with the flu virus coughs or sneezes, they expel particles carrying the virus. This means that not keeping your nose and mouth covered is the fastest way to spread the virus.
If you or someone in your family is sick — even if you’re not certain it’s the flu — slow the spread by reminding them to cough or sneeze into a tissue or elbow rather than their hands. Young children may need frequent, gentle reminders.
If you’re worried about getting germs from others who may not keep this tip in mind, you can cover your mouth and nose with a scarf or mask. This prevents you from breathing in particles of the flu virus.
One of the most important things you and your family can do to avoid the flu is to keep your hands clean. The influenza virus — like all viruses — can live on the surfaces we touch.
This means that if you touch a surface with the flu virus on it, and then touch your face, the virus can enter your system through your nose, eyes, or mouth.
You and your family can avoid the flu by washing your hands frequently with a gentle cleanser and warm, soapy water. Be sure to wash after you use the restroom and after you sneeze, cough, or blow your nose, and also before eating. Small children may need help washing their hands properly.
For those times when a sink is not handy, keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer close. Use a hand sanitizer with 60% alcohol or more to kill viruses like the flu.
Cleaning and disinfecting high-touch objects and surfaces in your house is another great way to keep you and your family safe. Use household cleaning sprays or sanitizing wipes that are designed to kill viruses.
Though there’s no need to hide away during flu season, keeping your distance from others in crowded or busy places can help stop you and your family from breathing in or touching surfaces with the virus.
Try a fist bump instead of shaking hands with strangers or kissing people who you don’t live with. And in busy lines, try to stay an arm’s length away from others in line, especially if you notice them coughing or sneezing.
Avoid touching public door knobs and handles, handrails, and countertops as much as possible, and sanitize or wash your hands after touching them if you must. Teach your children to do the same whenever possible.
You need to get a new flu shot every year because viruses change over time, creating new strains. This means your shot last year won’t protect you this year, since medical researchers produce a new flu shot each year.
All people aged 6 months and older should get an annual flu shot, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Getting your vaccine earlier in the flu season is best, since it takes about 2 weeks for your body to make protective antibodies after receiving the vaccine.
However, it’s never too late to get your flu shot, and we offer seasonal flu vaccines for the whole family. We accept all insurances and offer a sliding fee schedule, and even provide patient transportation from homes to all our locations so that keeping yourself and your family healthy is as convenient as possible.
The flu usually resolves with simple care you can do at home. However, there are times that the flu requires medical attention.
See our team right away if you have certain factors or conditions that could put you at higher risk for flu complications. These factors and conditions include:
If you want to learn more about protecting yourself and your family during flu season, or if you’d like to schedule this year’s flu shot, you’re in the right place. Contact us at Rural Health Corporation of Northeastern Pennsylvania in Nuremberg, Freeland, Falls, Hazleton, LaPorte, Wilkes Barre, Noxen, Shickshinny, and Edwardsville, Pennsylvania today!