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Flu Prevention: Tips to Keep You Infection-Free

Find out how to prevent the flu after being exposed and equip yourself with successful flu prevention methods.

What is the flu?

The flu is an infection that happens when an influenza virus enters your body. The most common flu symptoms include fever, sore throat, body aches, headaches, cough, fatigue, and a runny or stuffy nose.

How can I prevent the flu?

Vaccination is the most effective flu prevention measure. Flu vaccines use various technologies to induce a mild immune response to influenza viruses. This teaches the immune system how to identify and fight current influenza strains. Each year, the flu vaccine is updated to include the most prevalent types of flu virus in circulation that year.

Flu vaccines are given as shots or nasal sprays. It takes about two weeks for your body to build up immune defense against the flu.

All flu vaccinations are tested for safety and effectiveness by the FDA. Most health insurance plans cover flu vaccinations.

Healthy practices are also important for flu prevention:

  • Wash your hands often

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

  • Clean commonly touched surfaces

  • Stay home when sick

Can I get the flu shot if I have allergies or asthma?

In the past, people with egg allergies have been cautioned to avoid egg-based flu vaccines, which use chicken eggs in the production process.

However, new research shows that severe allergic reactions to these vaccines are unlikely. Beginning with the 2023-24 flu season, the CDC says that all types of flu vaccines are appropriate for people with egg allergies – even those made from eggs.

Similarly, flu vaccinations are unlikely to cause reactions in people with asthma.

However, if you’ve had a severe allergic reaction to other parts of a flu vaccine, you should not get a vaccine containing that component again. Talk to a healthcare provider about your allergies to see if there are vaccines you can safely take.

How can I boost my immune system?

Taking care of your immune system is an important part of flu prevention. Here are some tips to keep your immune system healthy this season.

Immune-boosting activities for flu prevention:

  • Eat nutritious foods that are high in vitamins and minerals

  • Prioritize getting good sleep each night

  • Exercise regularly

  • Limit the use of alcohol and unhealthy ‘junk food’

  • Lower your stress and have a laugh. Yes, laughter makes your immune system stronger!

  • Maintain or work towards a healthy body weight

  • Stay up-to-date with all vaccinations

How can I protect my child from the flu?

Preventing the flu is similar for children and adults. If your child is six months or older, they can start getting annual flu vaccines. This is the best method for how to prevent the flu. Talk to your child’s doctor if you have questions about flu vaccination.

Encouraging other members of the family or household to get vaccinated will also protect your child. Vaccinated family members are less likely to get sick and pass the flu to your child. This is especially important if you have an infant who isn’t old enough to be vaccinated.

Flu prevention for kids can also include:

  • Cleaning and sanitizing frequently touched items like toys and doorknobs

  • Teaching children good hygiene and hand-washing practices

  • Keeping children home when sick

What do I do if I get the flu?

The flu is widespread and contagious. Even when you know how to prevent the flu, there’s always a chance that you’ll get it.

The best medicine for the flu is rest and fluids. Limit your physical activity, stay hydrated, and get lots of sleep. This will help support your immune system as it fights against the virus.

Over-the-counter medications such as painkillers, decongestants, and cough syrups can help ease symptoms as you recover. If you have questions about any medication, be sure to ask your pharmacist or healthcare provider.

Think you have the flu? Schedule a virtual visit today

If you’re wondering how to prevent the flu or you’re feeling sick, we’re here for you. There’s no need to rush out to a clinic – we’ll see you from the comfort of your own home. Try a virtual healthcare visit today.

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Information contained in this blog is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. The content is not meant to be complete or exhaustive or to apply to any specific individual's medical condition. Always refer to the personalized information given to you by your doctor or contact us directly.