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Unlike the common cold—which, although miserable, usually doesn’t hurt anyone—influenza can be serious business. Here’s what not to do if you get the flu this year.
Don’t load up on meds so you can work
It’s not easy to predict how bad an upcoming flu season will be, says Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, a physician and health and wellness expert in New York City. “But if the 2018-2019 flu season mirrors the severity of last year’s flu season, then we can definitely anticipate a huge surge in hospitalizations and outpatient doctor visits once the flu season is in full swing,” she says. Although some employers may frown on taking sick days, when it comes to the flu, staying home is really best for everyone. “The influenza virus is … extremely contagious and has the propensity to spread quickly. It’s never a good idea to attempt to mask your flu symptoms and push yourself to go to work or school when you know you are fighting a viral infection—you’re only exposing more people in your community,” Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe points out. Check out these Boutique Sneakers Slides J promotion Boutique promotion RxZaPgva.
Don’t rush to the ER
Yes, the flu can be serious—even life-threatening—for certain groups of people, such as children under age five, seniors 65 and older, pregnant women, people in long-term health-care facilities, people with weakened immune systems, and those with underlying medical conditions like asthma, heart disease, or blood disorders, according to the CDC. Unless you fall into one of those categories, you should be able to fight it off on your own. “It’s important to recognize that not everyone who gets the flu will warrant an inpatient hospital admission, and may not experience very severe illness,” says Dr. Okeke-Igbokwe. Hospital emergency rooms can become overcrowded during severe flu seasons, making it tougher for those who really need the care to get it fast. Find out the 6 clear signs you have the flu.
You definitely want to take it easy when you have the flu, but snuggling up with a loved one isn’t recommended (especially if you’ll be tempted to smooch). “The flu virus is extremely contagious, so make sure, if you contract the flu, that you stay inside and stay away from others in your house,” says Justin Skolnick, DO, an emergency medicine physician and critical-care specialist in Manahawkin, New Jersey. Sometimes just close talking with someone is enough to pass the virus along, since it lives in tiny droplets of moisture expelled by breathing (as well as coughing or sneezing).
Don’t get lazy about washing your hands
You can easily infect the people around you just by flipping on a light switch. “Most people don’t realize the flu virus can survive for up to 24 hours on hard surfaces like door handles, tables, and railings. So making sure to wash your hands is paramount,” says Dr. Skolnick. Learn the 10 wrong ways to wash your hands.