Simple Ways to Fight Flu (and other germs) this Holiday Season

flu fighting tips

The best defense from the flu is a flu vaccine, and December is not too late to get one. The best defense from a cold is to wash your hands and avoid contact with airborne germs from coughs or sneezes of others. [© Racorn | Dreamstime.com]

If you’ll be home for the holidays, you’ll likely socialize with family and friends, travel on an airplane or be one of the crowd at the mall… and someone there inevitably will be sick. All it takes is one projectile sneeze, a handshake, a kiss at a party, or a taste of the dip after someone else double dipped and wham! You’re down with a cold or the flu.

Some people may think the flu isn’t all that serious; but you need to remember that it can be a very dangerous—even fatal—illness, especially for the very young, the very old and the immune-compromised. It descends upon our local communities every year, often causing serious illness and sometimes death. And after the holiday season, we begin seeing more cases.

The best defense from the flu is a flu vaccine – and December is not too late to get one. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it takes about two weeks after receiving the shot to develop antibodies to fight flu. The best defense from a cold is to wash your hands and avoid contact with airborne germs from the coughs or sneezes of others. Eating and sleeping well can also help boost your immunity. Here are some tips for safe socializing this holiday season:

      • wash your hands often
      • don’t share drinks or food
      • let your faithful friends gather near but not too near – try to stay away from people who are sick
      • stay home if you are sick, and
      • cover your cough with a tissue or cough into the inside of your elbow so your hands don’t transmit germs.

What should I do if I get the flu?
If your illness is mild, stay home and avoid contact with other people. Call your doctor’s office to see if a prescription antiviral drug is right for you. You should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. However, if you have symptoms and are in a high-risk group, contact your doctor for advice.

What is the difference between the common cold and the flu?
In general, the flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms such as fever, body aches, extreme tiredness and dry cough are more common and intense. People with colds are more likely to have a runny or stuffy nose. Colds generally do not result in serious health problems, such as pneumonia, bacterial infections or hospitalizations. Special tests done within the first few days of illness can determine if you have the flu.

If you practice good infection prevention, you may be able to avoid looking like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer this season. Healthy Holidays!