How to stay well this flu season

Amanda FloecknerNews

Learn proven tactics to prevent, avoid colds, flu

Tis’ the season! Fall and winter months bring more than just cold weather and hot chocolate. It’s also the start of the cold and flu season. Wondering how you can stay well this winter? Taking precautions to stay healthy
might be easier than you thought.

Get the flu shot

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), continues to recommend an annual flu shot for anyone over the age of six months, (including pregnant and nursing women). The flu vaccine protects against the main 3-4 viruses that research suggests will be the most common for the upcoming year, (it’s not a guarantee so taking other precautions to prevent illness is still important). If you unfortunately come down with the flu after receiving the vaccination, you may still benefit. Research suggests that people who become ill after being vaccinated will typically experience a milder version of the virus.


According to the CDC proper handwashing reduces the risk of developing a cold virus by 21%. Handwashing is one of the best ways you can avoid getting sick and prevent the spread of germs to others.

How to properly wash your hands:

1.) Wet hands with clean running water, (warm or cold is okay).

2.) Lather hands with soap, (be sure to get the backs of hands, between fingers and under the nails).

3.) Scrub hands for at least 20 seconds, (singing the happy birthday song twice is 20 seconds).

4.) Rinse hands under clean, running water.

Coughing and sneezing etiquette

Cold and flu viruses can be transmitted when you cough or sneeze. It’s important to cover your mouth and nose to reduce the risk of transmission. It’s best to use a tissue and discard the used tissue immediately. If a tissue isn’t available, sneeze or cough into your elbow, not your hand. Always wash your hands after. If soap and water isn’t available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. If you are around others while coughing and sneezing consider wearing a facemask.

Don’t touch your face

Germs can enter into your body through your eyes, nose and mouth so it’s important to avoid touching your face as much as possible. If you have kids teach them not to pick their nose, put fingers in their mouth, rub their eyes and bite their nails.

Practice healthy habits

It’s good to practice healthy habits all year long; doing so during the cold and flu season may actually help protect you from getting sick. Make sure you get enough sleep, stay physically active, keep stress at bay, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.

Stay away from sick people

This might seem obvious but don’t underestimate the importance of staying clear of loved ones or a co-worker that is feeling under the weather.

If you do get sick what should you do?

If you have the flu and are worried about your symptoms, call your doctor. Your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs. If started early on, antiviral drugs can help treat your illness and may make your illness milder and shorter. Antiviral drugs may also reduce your chance of serious flu complications. If you are sick, stay away from people as much as possible to limit your risk of infecting them. The CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

For more information on the flu vaccine visit the Washington State Department of Health’s website: