As cold and flu season is slowly approaching, it’s important to take steps to prevent the spread of the virus, especially to children, the elderly and those with a weaker immune system. Nurse Rose Melendez, RN, shares the importance of getting vaccinated.
When Should You Get Vaccinated?
Nurse Rose: The best way to prevent the flu is to get the flu shot or nasal spray vaccination if available. In Maryland, flu season lasts between October and March. Since it takes at least two weeks to get into your system, the best time to get vaccinated is October or November. The nasal spray may be used in persons aged 2 – 49 years old, however, it may be in limited supply this flu season.
What Other Ways Can You Prevent the Flu?
Nurse Rose: There are extra precautions you can take to prevent the flu, such as:
- Avoiding people who are sick
- Practicing good hygiene by washing hands or using hand sanitizer
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth
- Covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing
If You Catch the Flu, How Can You Ease the Symptoms?
Nurse Rose: If you do happen to catch the flu, the virus will have to run its course. However, there are ways to help ease your symptoms. Your doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to stop or slow the flu virus. Other things to help alleviate symptoms are:
- Plenty of rest
- Drinking lots of liquids
- Staying home
- Over the counter medications for fever, congestion and body aches