Flu Season Is Coming
It’s still early, but it’s time to start thinking about and preparing for this year’s flu season. United States experts study Australia’s flu season every year to help predict what flu season will be like in America. Since Australia is on the other side of the planet, its fall and winter occur at the same time as our spring and summer. As a result, Australians experience flu season before Americans do, and Australia’s flu season is typically a good indicator of what flu season will be like stateside.
Australia’s 2019 Flu Season
Australia’s flu season started a bit earlier than usual this year. The first confirmed flu cases began in March, which is the beginning of Australia’s fall. This early start could mean that the American flu season will start earlier as well, with the number of cases peaking in December rather than the usual February. Experts have not concluded why the flu season in Australia began earlier this year. It may be because last year’s flu season was much milder than the 2017 flu season. As a result, fewer people got their flu shot this year in Australia, which could account for more susceptible immune systems.
While this year’s flu season will likely not be as severe as 2017’s flu season, there are three confirmed strains of the flu currently circulating: two strains of Influenza A and one strain of Influenza B. Influenza B strains are spread by humans, while both humans and animals spread influenza A strains. It’s still a bit too soon to be able to reliably predict how Australia’s flu season will relate to America’s 2019 season, but most experts agree that this year’s flu season (at least in Australia) is not as extensive as the 2017 flu season.
How to Stay Healthy During Flu Season
The flu is highly contagious. Influenza typically presents with severe cold-like symptoms, a persistent cough, and a fever over 100 degrees.
Flu shots are the best way to protect against the flu. Every year, vaccine scientists in the United States develop flu vaccines based on the predicted strains in circulation. While the other tips in this list will certainly help prevent the spread of influenza, nothing will have as much of an effect as a flu shot. Flu shots take about two weeks to work to the best of their ability, so make sure to get one early. Getting a flu shot before the start of the flu season is essential. That way, the vaccine is more effective at the height of the flu season.
Avoid Close Contact
If someone in the household or at work is ill, avoid any close contact with them. The flu spreads through coughing and sneezing, along with other close contacts like kissing and hugging. Make sure to avoid other people if any flu-like symptoms arise to protect them from getting ill, too. Stay home instead of going to work or school if the flu is suspected.
Cover Your Mouth and Nose
Make sure to instruct children (and adults) to cover their mouths and noses when sneezing or coughing, even at home. This will help prevent the spread of germs that could lead to a flu infection. Coughing and sneezing also spreads other severe respiratory illnesses, so it makes sense to make covering the mouth and nose a habit.
Wash Your Hands
Make sure that everyone in the household washes their hands with soap and water often. Germs and infections are typically spread when someone touches a contaminated surface or object and then touches his or her face. If soap and water aren’t available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. In addition to regular hand washing, make sure all household members avoid touching their eyes, noses, and mouths as often as possible. This can further help prevent the spread of flu germs.
Keep Up With Housework
A clean living area goes a long way toward preventing the spread of germs and illness. Whenever possible, sanitize surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen. Try to keep the home free of clutter and other hard-to-clean surfaces. It’s also a good idea to disinfect doorknobs and light switches often, especially after someone in the household has been ill.
Another way to prevent catching the flu is to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. That means exercise! Most guidelines state that adults should exercise at a moderate intensity for at least an hour and a half a week. Keeping the body in good shape can help prevent illness.
Make sure to keep up with a healthy diet. The body needs nutrients and vitamins for its immune system to work correctly. Avoiding processed and sugary foods can also help prevent the onset of the flu.
Sleep is essential for a functioning immune system. Make sure to get enough quality sleep every night to help guard against the flu.
Have a Plan
Ask your boss or child’s school what their plan is in case of an outbreak of flu occurs. Ensure that frequently-touched objects at work and school are cleaned with antibacterial wipes to help remove any germs. Ensure that there’s a good supply of tissues, soap, paper towels, cleaning products, and alcohol-based hand sanitizers. If needed, make sure that someone else at the office is trained to take over should you need to take time off of work. This way, it won’t be as tempting to work while ill.
How Can We Help?
Here at Westcare Clinic, we employ knowledgeable, friendly healthcare professionals who can diagnose and treat the flu. We have accurate tests to diagnose both type A and type B flu strains. We take multiple insurance plans. Please call to check if we accept yours. Our extended hours are perfect for working professionals, and we aim to provide the highest-quality care in the Tumwater, Washington, area. If any flu-like symptoms set in, it’s vital to see a doctor right away for quick recovery and to prevent infecting others. Call today for same-day services!