UC HEALTH LINE: What You Can Do to Prevent the Flu
Last year’s flu season left many worried about their own health over the coming months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that each year, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu, and more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu complications.
Robert Finlay, MD, an internist with the University of Cincinnati, says that beyond getting a flu shot, there are many things you can do to keep yourself and your family healthy.
“Some of the basic things we know about spreading disease are extra important as we enter flu season,” says Dr. Finlay. “We need to make sure we are practicing good habits. Even something as simple as washing your hands can go a long way toward protecting you from the flu.”
In addition to hand washing, Dr. Finlay says it’s very important to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze—“the same way your mother always taught you.”
The CDC recommends this and other preventive measures at www.cdc.gov/flu. The precautions include:
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
Staying home when you are sick
Not touching your eyes, nose or mouth
Avoiding close contact and staying home when you are sick, says Dr. Finlay, can often be the most difficult rules to follow.
“We’re all driven to meet deadlines and keep moving when we aren’t feeling well,” he says. “Work can wait. Getting better is your top priority, and your colleagues will be happy you considered their health as well.
“And we often forget that once we touch something, our hands could be covered with germs,” says Dr. Finlay. “It’s best to avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth in order to keep germs out.”
"UC Health Line” contains timely health information and is distributed every Tuesday by the UC Academic Health Center Public Relations and Communications Office.