Health Officials Explain How You Can Avoid Getting the Flu This Winter
Just follow these guidelines, and we should all survive the cold:
Step 1: go to the nearest Walgreen's or doctor's office and get your flu vaccine. "Everyone age 6 months or older should be vaccinated, but especially infants, pregnant women, elderly, and anyone with a chronic medical condition like asthma, heart disease, or diabetes," says Tomas Aragon, health officer for San Francisco.
You can also go to the city's Adult Immunization and Travel Clinic, located at 101 Grove St., to get the vaccination, but call ahead, since clinics everywhere are crowded.
Step 2: Don't be gross. That means wash your hands before and after everything you do; cover your mouth when you cough, and sneeze in your sleeve, not on the person sitting next to you on Muni.
Step 3: If you are sick, stay home! Who cares what your boss says, and screw that deadline. Nothing will get done as long as the entire office is out sick.
If you are historically healthy, and aren't sure whether you have the flu, here's some sure signs:
- The flu is different from a cold, and it usually comes on suddenly.
- You will probably have a fever or feel feverish and have chills.
- A persistent cough and sore throat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Muscle or body aches, headaches, or fatigue.
Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.
If you have the flu, and you don't take care of yourself, you could develop complications, including pneumonia, which could result in death. You could also get bronchitis, or sinus or ear infections if the flu is left untreated.
Even those of you who run every day and eat broccoli and fish can contract the flu -- it doesn't matter how old you are. Of course, anyone 65 or older and people with certain chronic medical conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease, as well as pregnant women, and young children are most at risk.
Now please go wash your hands.