Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

January 14, 2014

Another View: Flu season means taking precautions, care

Although the holiday season is over, flu season just getting started

Flu season is here and we’d like to remind everyone of a few things to remember as the illness peaks.

Typically the flu season peaks in January or February, but with the winter starting as early as it did this year, it’s not too soon to to think about the flu.

Though the start, duration and severity of the season is hard to gage from year to year, it seems the sickness has already begun to spread in the U.P. But it’s easy for anyone to take steps to prevent getting the flu in the first place.

The first step is to get a flu shot — anyone 6-years-old and older, that is. The vaccine, which lasts one season, comes in two forms: A shot and a nasal spray for children.

Doctor’s offices, health departments and stores like Walgreens and Walmart offer flu vaccinations and the shots are covered by many insurance companies.

Another important step to staying healthy is to avoid sick people. Those with the flu should not go to work to avoid spreading the sickness to others. Cover your mouth when coughing or use a tissue.

Washing your hands with soap regularly can help you avoid spreading the germs and help prevent you from getting flu. The illness is passed through a virus via contact: You can’t get the flu from just going outside when it’s cold. You have to touch an infected door handle or other surface, or come in close proximity with someone who’s already sick.

If you do get sick with the flu — symptoms include a high fever, cough, head and body aches, fatigue and a sore throat — some anti-viral drugs are available that can shorten the duration and ease the symptoms.

See a doctor as soon as any of these symptoms start. Not only can they make you feel better but they can also prevent flu-related complications like pneumonia.

We implore you to take these steps to help avoid the flu this season.

Stay healthy.

The Mining Journal, Marquette

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