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Tips to Prepare for Cold and Flu Season

By Taylor Smith 

With children now back in school and an increased amount of time spent indoors, fall typically signals the start of cold and flu season. In reality, a person can contract the flu any time of year, but the CDC reports that influenza typically peaks between December and February.

The composition of U.S. flu vaccines is reviewed annually and updated as needed to match circulating flu viruses. These vaccines typically protect against three-four viruses that are deemed the most likely to spread during the coming year. According to cdc.gov, “The World Health Organization made the selection of the H1N1 and both B components for the 2019-2020 Northern Hemisphere flu vaccines.” 

It takes about two weeks after vaccination for your body to develop resistance against those particular flu strains. The CDC recommends that people are vaccinated by the end of October. In addition, simple preventative steps can diminish the likelihood of becoming unnecessarily bedridden. 

Clean Your Hands

Handwashing is so simple, yet so vital. Using soap and water throughout the day (and/or alcohol-based hand sanitizers) is very effective. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs typically spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches their face. 

Clean and Disinfect Frequently Touched Surfaces at Home

Using disinfectant wipes at home will reduce the likelihood of germs spreading. Also, getting plenty of sleep, drinking lots of water, and eating a balanced, nutritious diet significantly supports immunity. 

Cover Your Mouth and Nose

Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing. Respiratory illnesses (like whooping cough and SARS) are spread by coughing, sneezing, and unclean hands. 

Stay Home When You’re Sick 

If possible, individuals should stay home from work and school when sick. This simple step helps to prevent illness from spreading and infecting others.