The flu bug season is upon us and is in many ways as unpredictable as those annoying ant hills that pop up in your yard. Prevention before you get sick is key!
There are numerous strains of the flu and history has demonstrated they change year-to-year. The medical community and manufacturers of the flu vaccine cannot predict exactly which strains of flu will occur each year; however, they are able to design and dispense flu vaccine that will protect against the three main flu strains that research has identified for the upcoming flu season. The website www.flu.gov contains information about the flu, the vaccination, how to prevent it, for seniors, caregivers and travelers.
How can you safeguard yourself from the flu this winter? First you need to get your annual flu vaccination as soon as it’s available. Walk –in flu shot clinics are available on SAVAHCS main campus, Building 80 in the lobby Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Flu shots are also available at the Community Based Outpatient Clinics, please contact the clinic for specific dates and times. If you receive your flu shot somewhere other than your VA primary care providers’ office, please let your provider know when and where you were vaccinated.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention offer these tips on their website www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits.htm:
1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick
2. Stay home when you are sick.
3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing or coughing.
4. Clean your hands often with soap and water. If not available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth as that spreads germs.
6. Practice other good health habits such as get plenty of rest, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious foods.