Every year I preach the importance of getting the flu shot, but I’ve paid the price for not following my own advice. Teaching always insured I’d receive a reminder when the flu shot was available as well as a date when I could schedule an appointment for the free shot at my workplace. Not this year. No reminder. No appointment. No flu shot. Instead, four days of fever, chills, headache, sneezing, running nose and cough. Yuck!
Wrapped in blankets in bed, on the couch and finally sitting on the porch, I wasted too much time popping pills to relieve flu symptoms.
Finally, I decided to get serious. Only by gulping the nasty stuff can you kick the nasty stuff!
Hopefully, you were smart enough to get the flu shot, but if not take the liquid stuff.
It’s official, the CDC has declared the flu an epidemic in the U.S. Now it’s time to fight back.
We’ll all be busy during the next six weeks. Wedding planning, bachelor and bachelorette parties to attend, and of course, the wedding itself. None of us has time to be sick so let’s all fight back.
If you haven’t gotten a flu shot, it’s not too late. It’s probably covered by your insurance and absolutely FREE, and since it’s offered at Walgreens, CVS, and Publix, you shouldn’t have to drive more than 5 minutes to find a location providing the vaccine.
However, if you feel sick, GO TO THE DOCTOR, ASAP! Anti-viral medications can be prescribed that significantly reduce symptoms and the time you’ll feel sick.
And there are precautions you can take to avoid getting sick:
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. (The single most effective way to combat the flu.)
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Try to stay away from people who are sick.
- Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs that cause the flu. This is especially important at work – doorknobs, keyboards, phones should be routinely cleaned. (Don’t rely on others to do this. Remember, you’re fighting flu!)
- Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze (coughing into your elbow is much better than your hand) but if you’re using tissues, make sure they make it in the trash and that you wash your hands, again.
- Gargle with warm salt water nightly. Not only does this prevent sore throats, it reduces respiratory infections by up to 40%.
You don’t have time to get sick so please fight the flu.
I encouraged you to get a flu shot at the end of November, but if you haven’t got one yet it’s not too late. Walgreens, CVS, Publix, and even Target offer flu shots, and reports indicate that Central Florida’s already experiencing a record number of cases of flu and pneumonia. I know you can’t drive more than a mile or two without passing one of these pharmacies so stop in and get vaccinated.
In addition to getting a vaccination, you should take the following precautions:
Wash your hands frequently. Soap and warm water work best, but if they aren’t available use an alcohol based hand sanitizer. You may want to keep some handy.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs are spread when you touch your face.
Gargle. Gargling with warm salt water is an easy, painless way to avoid the discomfort associated with a sore throat, but experts recommend daily gargling to prevent sore throats. In fact, studies show gargling with salt water daily can reduce respiratory infections by up to 40%.
Finally, stay home if you’re ill and if your coworkers come to work sick, keep your distance.