October 2, 2011
Preventing the Influenza Virus
Along with the cool, crisp air of the fall, comes the flu vaccine. The flu can be life threatening, but there are some things you can do to prevent getting the flu. Getting the flu vaccine, good hand hygiene and avoiding people who have the flu are all great ways to avoid getting sick.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there are two types of vaccines available. One form of the vaccine is the inactive or “dead” vaccine which is given by injection. Another form is the live, attenuated (weakened) vaccine which is sprayed in the nostril. The flu can occur at anytime, but most cases occur from October through May. Once you receive the vaccine, it takes approximately two weeks for the vaccine to take effect.
The flu virus can easily be spread thru coughing, sneezing, or nasal secretions. Therefore practicing good hand hygiene is another key factor in the prevention of getting the flu. Washing your hands thoroughly with antibacterial soap while singing the “Happy Birthday” song twice will ensure the any germs will be killed. Keeping hand sanitizer close by for use is also helpful.
Another prevention tip is to avoid close contact with people who have the flu. Although, in most cases, that is nearly impossible to do especially if you have to care for a sick child or other family members. At the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, it is suggested that all people, no matter how healthy, are at some risk of developing severe and even fatal influenza infections.
In conclusion, the flu is a highly contiguous virus that can be prevented by getting vaccinated, practicing good hand hygiene, and trying to avoid close contact with people already infected are great ways to avoid getting sick.