Veterans: Here’s how to avoid getting the flu


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Right now, the hospitalization rate for flu here in the United States is the highest on record, according to the Centers for Disease Control.  A scary thought.

So what can you do to keep from getting sick?   Dr. Jane Kim, VA’s Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine, has a few tips for Veterans who want to protect themselves from getting the flu.

Her first piece of advice?

“Get your flu shot!” she urged.  “It is not too late.  Flu is still circulating around the country and will continue into spring.  The flu vaccine will protect you, especially from the strains that will be circulating later in the flu season

“A flu shot will also help to ease your symptoms should you get the flu,” she added.

In addition to staying hydrated and getting plenty of sleep, there’s another simple thing you can do to discourage a visit from the flu:

“Wash your hands!” Kim advised.  “Touching your eyes, nose or mouth is a surefire way of introducing infectious organisms into your body.  So keeping your hands clean is your best defense.”

Fall is time for flu shots. Flu Season.

“Stay home when you’re sick, especially when you have a fever.”  

So what do you do if you’ve taken all these precautions but end up getting the flu anyway?

Dr. Jane Kim, VA's Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine

Dr. Jane Kim, VA’s Chief Consultant for Preventive Medicine

Don’t Mess Around

“Cover your coughs and sneezes, and stay home so you don’t spread the virus,” Kim said.  “You also want to get to a doctor if you’re in a high-risk group.  You’re considered high risk if you’re over 65.  Women who are pregnant are at higher risk.  Also,

people with an underlying health issue like HIV.”

She continued:  “If you’re in a high-risk group, seek medical care right away.  Your provider may prescribe an antiviral which will get you better faster and perhaps help you avoid serious complications.”

Kim said if you start feeling really, really bad, drop everything and seek medical care immediately.

“Don’t mess around,” she warned.  “Sometime a secondary infection like pneumonia can jump on you while you have the flu, and that’s seriously bad news.  So get the medical attention you need.  Don’t procrastinate or try to tough it out.”

For more information about flu prevention, visit www.publichealth.va.gov/flu

Author

Tom Cramer

Comments

  1. Renee Chevalier    

    Allergic to eggs so I can not take the flu shot. This is frustrating because most doctors tell you to take the shot anyway. But an allergic reaction to the shot can be devastating to me. Causing death. Why would a doctor tell someone to take a shot that could kill them??? I have had the flu 2 times now the second the worst because i don’t have the money to buy tamiflu again for the second time. This is frustrating because others get to be helped while people allergic who have been warned since young do not take anything that is grown in egg.

  2. Donald Holland    

    I have not had a flu shot in over 40 years and have not had the flu. I do wash my hands a lot.

  3. benzena    

    Tom Cramer,thanks so much for the post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  4. David Smith    

    Hello and thank you for your article, very informative! In my experience, if you already have the fly you can boost your immune system with honey. It helps you sweat out the toxins in your body, which is helpful when you have a cold or flu. Ginger is also helpful for settling upset stomachs, dizziness, nausea, vomiting and cold sweats. Honey: Soothes a sore throat, making it an effective and natural cough suppressant.

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