Cold and Flu: Safety Topics - November 2018 - Week 4


Monday - Cold and Flu Season is Upon Us
Along with the holidays, this time of year brings the dreaded cold and flu season. This week’s briefing is focused on getting you prepared with some information specific to this year’s viruses, as well as tips and tricks for limiting the spread of germs and keeping ourselves happy and healthy during the upcoming winter months and holiday season!

When does flu activity peak and when does the season begin?

The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season. Seasonal flu viruses can be detected year-round; however, seasonal flu activity often begins as early as October and can continue through May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and February.

How can I protect myself?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older. This is the most important step in self-protection. The timing of flu is very unpredictable and can vary in different parts of the country and from season to season so people should begin getting vaccinated early to get as many people protected before cold & flu season begins. 

Tuesday - What is New This Year

The CDC recommends against using nasal spray flu vaccines (LAIV). Only injectable shots are recommended this season. You should get a flu vaccine now, if you haven’t gotten one already. It’s best to get vaccinated before the flu begins spreading in your community as it takes about two weeks for antibodies to develop. Getting vaccinated later, however, can still be beneficial and vaccination should continue to be offered throughout the flu season.

Flu vaccines are offered by many doctor’s offices, clinics, health departments, pharmacies and college health centers, as well as by many employers, and even some schools. This means that even if you do not have a regular doctor or nurse, you can still get a vaccine!

Can I get vaccinated and still get the flu?

According to the CDC, it is possible to get sick with the flu even if you have been vaccinated:

  • Exposure may have occurred before antibodies were developed in your system.
  • You may have been exposed to a flu virus that is not targeted by the vaccine you received.
  • You age and overall health affects the reliability and effectiveness of the vaccine.

Wednesday - If You Get Sick

Most people with the flu have mild illness and do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. If the illness is not getting better, contact your medical provider as there are drugs your doctor may prescribe for treating the flu called “antivirals.” These drugs help you feel better and may prevent serious complications.

The CDC confirms that antiviral drugs are prescription drugs that can be used to treat flu illness and that people at high risk of serious flu complications and people who require hospitalization. CDC studies show that prompt treatment with antiviral drugs can prevent serious flu complications and can mean the difference between having a milder illness versus a serious illness that results in a hospital stay.

According to the CDC, treatment with antivirals works best when started within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still help taken later on.

Thursday - What should you do?

The CDC advises that you should do the following to help protect yourself and others from cold and flu viruses:

  • Take a sick day if needed – do NOT spread germs to your coworkers.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  • Wipe down your desk and other common areas to limit the spread of germs.
  • Avoid close contact with others who are sick.

Friday - Germ Fight Friday
Let’s go around and share something you did to protect yourself and others from the cold and flu viruses this week.

Tags: safety topics , health and wellness , personal home safety , weather ,

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