Flu season is in full swing with many states around the country reporting a high number of cases. Flu outbreaks can start as early as October, and in some cases, last until early May. The peak of flu season occurs between December and February when the highest volume of cases are reported.
The most obvious way to protect yourself from getting the flu is by getting a flu shot once a year. If you have not done so already, it is highly recommended in order to limit your chances of getting the flu.
While getting a flu vaccine does not completely protect one from contracting the flu, studies from the CDC indicate it drastically reduces the odds of contracting the virus. It is impossible to predict the predominant strain of flu every year, but getting a flu shot is definitely among the best ways to protect yourself. Many health care providers even offer free flu shots during flu season, and it is no longer necessary to make a doctor's appointment to get the vaccine; many pharmacies offer flu shots as well.
Aside from getting the flu vaccine, it also best to wash your hands as often as possible. Washing your hands prevents the spread of germs, and further decreases your chances of getting the flu. If someone at your home, workplace, or school has contracted the flu, it is a good idea to disinfect areas of frequent contact. For additional protection, bring a small bottle of hand sanitizer with you during the peak of flu season.
Also refrain from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth as often as possible to prevent germs from spreading. You should also avoid contact with sick people, especially those with the flu.
Flu prevention also involves practicing healthy living habits. Be sure to get plenty of sleep, eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids, manage stress, and exercise regularly to prevent yourself from getting the flu. If you feel like you may have flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends staying home for at least 24 hours to reduce your symptoms.