How to protect yourself and fight this year’s flu epidemic

This year, the CDC has issued an alert that the flu is nearing pandemic levels and has already exceeded last year’s total flu count – and this year’s flu season has started early. There’s no way to get around it – someone you know is going to get the flu and it’s highly likely that you will too, unless you perform some of the basic precautions that have saved thousands every year.

  1. Get a flu shot. You need to do this sooner than later because your body will take a week or two to produce relevant antibodies.
  2. The shot won’t always work. This year one of the flu variants is not in the flu vaccine. You’ll need to be cautious regardless of your vaccines.
  3. Wash hands frequently. Not just you, but everyone you know or come in contact with. And don’t be afraid to ask if they are as diligent as you are about staying germ-free.
  4. Use an alcohol or other sanitary wipe. For cases when you can’t avoid contact, or simply had to grab something you can’t be sure of, you can quickly kill the germs on your hands.
  5. Stop touching yourself. We make contact with our own faces over 3,000 times per day. Learn to stop rubbing, itching and wiping yourself – you risk getting a stray virus into your sinus or eye.
  6. Be more careful. At work, and in mass transit, we expose ourselves to others easily. Watch your surface and interpersonal contacts and do your best to minimize them.