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Health Notes

Health Notes
(From our November 2017 Issue)

Practicing Healthy Habits throughout Flu Season

Health Notes Doctor Picture

Dr. Zachary Stengel, MD
DaVita Medical Group
Family Medicine – Southwest Office
2640 Tenderfoot Hill St.
Colorado Springs, CO 80906

The start of fall weather is usually an indication of a calendar full of school and family events; events you and your family look forward to attending and not missing due to the dreaded flu. So, this fall, pencil out time in your calendar to make you and your families’ health a priority by receiving your flu vaccination and taking steps to practice healthy habits during flu season. The flu vaccine is the best way to protect yourself and others around you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends everyone six months and older receive a flu vaccine, being vaccinated prior to October. With flu season lasting until spring time, peaking in January and February, it is important to be prepared yearly at the start of fall. For individuals and caregivers of those considered to be at a higher risk of developing serious complications, like pneumonia and dehydration, it is especially important to receive the flu vaccination. Individuals that are considered to be at a high risk include:

  • People over the age of 65
  • Pregnant women
  • People who have medical conditions like asthma, diabetes and chronic lung disease
  • Children under five years old, and especially under two years old

In addition to receiving a flu vaccine, washing your hands often is another important step in preventing the flu and practicing healthy habits. The flu vaccine may take up to two weeks for antibodies to develop in the body and provide protection against an influenza virus infection. Other important healthy habits to practice during flu season include:

  • Covering your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze
  • Living a healthy lifestyle by eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, managing stress, exercising and getting enough sleep
  • Avoiding close contact with those who are sick
  • Decreasing the spread of germs by not touching your eyes, nose, or mouth

If you do become ill with flu-like symptoms; high fever or feeling feverish, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, headaches or body aches, chills, fatigue, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, it is important to stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. If symptoms worsen, it is advised to seek medical attention.

Remember, the flu vaccine only protects you for one season, so a yearly vaccine is recommended. Some mild side effects can occur from the flu vaccine. If you have a severe allergy to eggs, a history of a severe reaction to a flu vaccine, or a history of Guillain–Barré Syndrome, you should not receive the flu vaccine. For any questions regarding the vaccine, contact your health care provider or visit www.cdc.gov/flu.

Resources:
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov/flu
Kids Health: www.kidshealth.org