How to Prevent Catching the Flu This Fall

The flu season comes around each fall and it’s always unpredictable in terms of timing, severity, and length. Each year, the flu season claims many casualties, with thousands of infections and deaths. The flu is highly contagious and is characterized as a respiratory illness that stems from influenza types A and B viruses. In the U.S, flu activity tends to begin in October and peaks December through February, and can last until late May. It’s important to protect yourself and your family this fall and take preventative measures to stay flu-free. Here’s a look at some of the steps that you can take to prevent catching the flu this fall.

Don’t Skip Getting a Flu Shot

To protect yourself from a severe illness during the flu season this fall, get a flu shot. This is the primary way to protect yourself from flu viruses. Seasonal flu shots are vaccines that are typically administered via an injection into the arm. The flu shot provides protection against three or four of the most common flu viruses that are most prevalent during a particular flu season. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a yearly flu vaccine for individuals 6 months of age and older, as the first and most crucial step in protecting against the flu, and given that CDC research suggests that flu vaccination generally minimizes the risk of influenza illness by 40% to 60% when the vaccine viruses are like the ones spreading in the community, the flu vaccine is the single best protection.

Avoid Crowds

People should avoid crowded places and large gatherings to minimize the chance of catching the flu. The flu season is lengthy, making it impossible to self-quarantine, but avoiding unnecessary crowds and excessive travel should be a conscious decision. You want to avoid crowds because a crowded space often lacks adequate ventilation and increases the chance of a flu virus spreading. Crowded spaces with a high number of children and elderly people tend to present the highest risk for flu infection. It’s always best to practice good hygiene when you are in a crowded space, especially during peak flu season, and distance yourself from people who are sick – exhibiting coughs and sneezes.  

Wash Your Hands Frequently

The washing of hands regularly can prevent the spread of infection, including flu viruses.

One of the things that your hands come in contact with are germs, which we can transfer to the eyes, mouth, nose, and ears. Germs can be found on many surfaces in your environment and there are some surfaces that you frequently touch, which increases the risk of picking up germs. It’s crucial that you wash your hands regularly to reduce the risk of picking up the flu virus that can “live” on some surfaces for up to 48 hours, according to the CDC. Wash your hands thoroughly several times throughout the day for at least 15-to 20 seconds – after using the restroom, touching questionable surfaces, and before putting them to your face and mouth. If soap and water are unavailable, an alcohol-based sanitizer is a good substitute to kill germs.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Maintaining a healthy diet is an effective way to boost your body’s immune system, which protects your body from infection. When the immune system is at optimal levels, it will respond to threats like flu viruses and attack them to prevent illness. A healthy diet helps to keep your immune system in tip-top shape and eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet of a variety of fruits and vegetables, packed with vitamins and antioxidants is key for immune health and function. Stay away from simple sugars, fatty foods, and junk foods. 

Walk-In Flu Shots in West Orange, NJ

The best defense against the flu this fall season is a combination of the flu vaccine and good hygiene. Visit AFC Urgent Care West Orange for a flu shot and flu treatment this fall, where you’ll receive exceptional care. We’ll answer all your tough flu questions and help you stay healthy during this fall’s flu season. For questions or more information about flu shots, call 973-669-5900.