How to reduce your risk of flu.
We are already seeing an increase in upper-respiratory and other types of illnesses this fall. With the start of flu season, it is important to remember how to best protect yourself from the illness and avoid spreading the disease.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you are sick, keep your distance from others.
- Use your best judgment – if you feel too sick to work, you probably are. Stay home and rest to avoid spreading the illness to others and give yourself a chance to heal.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and dispose of promptly.
- Wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, which could contaminate you with flu germs.
- Clean/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
Don’t fall victim to incorrect information
We often hear people say, “I’m not getting the flu shot because it will give me the flu!” It’s medically impossible for someone to get the flu from the flu shot because the flu shot is developed from a dead virus. A dead virus can’t give you the flu. So why does this belief persist? Because some people will experience the flu or a flu-like episode after getting their shot, but it’s not due to the shot itself. Here are a few reasons why people might experience the flu or flu-like symptoms after getting their shot:
A reaction to the flu shot.
A small number of people who get the flu vaccine experience mild flu-like symptoms such as mild fever and muscle aches. While these are side effects, people wrongly attribute side effects to actually getting the flu.
You’re already infected.
Once you get your flu shot, it takes about 2 weeks for immunity to develop in your body. Some people will get their flu shot late in the flu season (December or later) and already infected when they get their shot. When they get sick, they may believe their illness comes from the flu shot, and not recognize that they were going to get sick anyway. What does this tell us? Don’t wait! Get your flu shot earlier in the season (now is a great time if you haven’t done so already).
You’re sick, but not with the flu.
Sometimes people attribute their sickness to “the flu,” though they have another viral illness. The flu shot doesn’t protect against all viral illnesses.
DISCLAIMER: The contents and opinions expressed by Everett Clinic teammates and providers on “A Healthier You” blog and those providing comments are theirs alone and are not a substitute for medical advice. Consult your own provider for personal health recommendations.
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