6 Ways to Fight the Flu

As temperatures drop, the spread of cold and flu germs rises. Start the year off healthy and be sure to rid your home of lingering germs that may be hiding in places you don’t expect.

“I always recommend the flu shot – especially when officials are predicting a harsh flu season like this year – good nutrition and plenty of sleep, but there are other healthy habits we can all develop to help keep ourselves and those around us stay healthy during cold and flu season,” said Dr. Tanya Altmann, pediatrician, best-selling author and founder of Calabasas Pediatrics. “Vaccination is important, but there are other preventative measures that we should all keep in mind.”

These tips from the experts at Clorox can help you prevent the spread of germs:

  • Get Vaccinated. Even though it’s well into cold and flu season, it’s still important to get a flu shot if you haven’t already. Vaccination is the first step in flu prevention. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend a yearly flu virus vaccination – even if the vaccine’s efficacy fluctuates – for almost everyone 6 months and older.
  • Keep Hands Washed: Hands touch so many things throughout the day. It’s important to wash your hands often, including after using the bathroom and before preparing or serving food. Germs can spread by touching your eyes, nose or mouth after coming in contact with a contaminated surface. Those areas are common entry points to the body for germs, so try not to touch your face or eat until you wash your hands.
  • Stay Home if You’re Sick: Even though you may not want to miss work or school, it’s important to stay home to prevent the spread of illnesses to those around you. Even at home, make sure to cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue to prevent the spread of germs to your loved ones. Lastly, try your best to make good use of your time off from work or school to rest, relax, eat well and recover from illnesses.
  • Follow Health Guidelines: It’s important to eat right (fill up with fresh fruit and veggies, vitamin D and probiotics), get some exercise (at least 30 minutes a day of moderate intensity) and get plenty of sleep (at least 8 hours per night) to help boost your body’s ability to fight the effects of cold and flu viruses.
  • Be Aware of Your Environment: Be aware of illnesses going around in your community to take extra precautions to avoid them or to know when to seek medical attention if you do get sick.
  • Disinfect Hard Surfaces: Disinfection is a key step to help prevent the spread of cold and flu germs. The CDC recommends disinfecting frequently touched, hard surfaces, such as doorknobs, refrigerator handles, light switches and faucets, with an EPA-registered disinfectant like Clorox Disinfecting Wipes. They help kill 99.9 percent of germs that can live for up to 48 hours on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Learn more about flu prevention at Clorox.com/FluFOMO. (Family Features)



Are You Ready for Flu Season?

Help Protect You and Your Loved Ones by Getting Vaccinated

Fever, chills, fatigue, body aches, sore throat and headache — these are just a few of the common symptoms of seasonal influenza, also known as the flu. While you may think you can weather the storm, the flu can be a major health concern for you and your family, especially for children and the elderly.

The flu is a highly contagious infectious disease caused by influenza viruses that attack the nose, throat and lungs. Unlike many other viral respiratory infections, such as the common cold, flu symptoms vary from mild respiratory illness to severe complications, hospitalization and in some cases death. An average of 200,000 people are hospitalized due to flu complications in the U.S. each year. To reduce illness and potential death resulting from the flu, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages annual vaccination for everyone aged 6 months and older.

“Despite strong recommendations for everyone in the U.S. 6 months of age and older to be vaccinated against the flu every year, fewer than half of eligible people did so in the 2014-2015 season. This includes children, the group with the highest incidence during community outbreaks,” said Kim Tran, MS, PharmD, pharmacist, PillPack, Inc. “Even healthy people are at risk — they should be vaccinated to help protect themselves and to prevent transmission to others.”

Due to the variety of factors that can determine a person’s suitability for a vaccine, including age, health and allergies, different flu vaccines are approved for use in different populations of people. In particular, quadrivalent vaccines, which help protect against four strains of the flu, approved for both children and adults aim to broaden flu coverage.

The traditional seasonal influenza vaccine is a trivalent formula consisting of two strains of influenza A viruses and a single strain of influenza B virus. Although there are two very different lineages of B viruses that both circulate during most seasons, experts are limited to choosing only one of the B virus strains for inclusion in the trivalent vaccine. The use of a quadrivalent influenza vaccine may now provide protection against both B lineages, which may provide broader protection against circulating flu viruses. In addition, studies have shown that seasonal flu vaccines made to protect against four flu viruses have a safety profile similar to vaccines made to protect against three viruses.

Most healthy adults may be able to infect other people with the flu beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to seven days after becoming sick. Some people can even be infected with the flu and spread the virus to others without having any symptoms. While the best way to help prevent the flu is to get a flu shot every year, you should also take everyday precautions against the spread of germs. Wash your hands often with soap and water, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and try to avoid close contact with sick people.

You could protect yourself and your family against the inconvenient and potentially life-threatening complications of the flu by simply getting vaccinated. For additional resources regarding what is best suited for you, please visit www.whatsyourfluplan.com.