It’s always fun to return to work from the bliss of the holidays in January to find yourself in the thick of sniffle and cough season, otherwise known as Influenza. Despite the historical data of the flu’s contributing influence in causing death, people continue to treat the condition as being no worse than a bad cold.

Primarily a respiratory virus, Influenza can rear its green-goo head as early as October and last well into April or May, peaking typically in February or March. Worldwide, the flu is responsible for more than 250,000 deaths annually. Certainly not a condition to take lightly, especially when the flu shot is so widely available.

Common symptoms include:

  • Fever
  • Body and muscle aches
  • Cough (usually dry)
  • Headache
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Weakness

Though nothing can guarantee immunity, protection and precaution is key.

The flu vaccine is recommended for nearly everyone six-months of age and older. This can be in the form of a shot, nasal spray or intradermal vaccine.

Hand washing may seem simple enough, but it is amazing how many people don’t wash often enough or correctly. This can unwittingly spread the germs to others. Hand washing isn’t about the soap killing the germs, it’s the lather, friction, and eventual rising which washes the germs away.

At the heart of any form of healthy living is diet and exercise. Flu prevention is no exception. Staying healthy keeps the immune system strong and able to fight against exposure. This includes getting enough sleep allowing the body to rest and heal effectively.

At the height of flu season, hand sanitizer and distance are critical to fight against the constant exposure. Though tough, when interaction with people who are ill is unavoidable, be sure to wash right away and encourage children to cough or sneeze into their elbow instead of their hands.

Cleanliness also includes frequently used surfaces. Influenza can live on surfaces for two-to-eight hours without any detectable signs. Cell phones, doorknobs, computer keyboards, children’s toys, and faucet handles are hotbeds of germ growth and often overlooked for constant cleaning.

If systematic, be sure to visit your doctor and note your benefit plan has been set up to take care of the cost of pharmaceutical to assist in the rapid recovery and return to a healthy state as quickly as possible.

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