Stopping the spread of germs is key to stopping the flu.
It has been a bad year for the flu. Just ask Wanda Blanford, who has been at Norton Hospital for three days. Influenza triggered her chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and caused atrial fibrillation.
Blanford’s illness came on quickly and started as chills and fever. Within a day she began having trouble breathing.
“I’ve never had the flu before,” Blanford said. “It’s not fun, I tell you. It’s very scary.”
With more than half of flu season yet to go, here are a few tips we’ve learned from this year’s outbreak to keep you and your loved ones healthy:
- If you’re sick, stay home. As long as sick people are out and spreading germs, flu season will continue.
- Get a flu shot. While it’s better to get the shot before the season begins, it’s better late than never. The shot may not prevent you from getting the flu altogether, but it may make illness shorter and less severe.
- Wash your hands! Simply washing your hands can help keep you from getting sick as well as prevent the spread of germs.
- Take it seriously. True influenza is very serious and can make you extremely ill, especially if you have other health concerns.
“If you see a doctor regularly for a health issue, such as lung, heart, liver or kidney disease, or if you’re immunocompromised, you are at a greater risk of severe influenza,” said Paul Schulz, M.D., system epidemiologist, Norton Healthcare. “Infants and the elderly also are at greater risk.”