During summer last year, my family had a bad case of germ attack. My family was downed by flu almost simultaneously. I noticed that we got sick after I held a successful garage sale. Lots of people were coming and going. My kids, wanting to be helpful, milled around the garage as well. I’m sure the virus was brought by one of the “customers”. My family missed the flu vaccine last year!
After several nights of fever and sleeplessness, of kids vomiting, crying, asking for water and for hugs, we all finally got well. As soon as we did, we went to our pediatrician to get our flu vaccines. Of course, it was too late; nevertheless we still got our shots.
I’ve learned my lesson since: get the flu vaccine as soon as the strains for the current year become available.
Three weeks ago, my daughter V and six other classmates were absent from school – all at the same time. Most of them had sniffles, fever, and throat itchies. Over the past several weeks, I’d read plurks of friends or their kids getting sick.
Though early, it seems official – 2009 flu season is here.
Would you want to be part of the flu statistics this year? I wouldn’t! Here are some tips to avoid getting sick with the flu:
1. Observe basic hygiene practices.
- Wash your hands often. The hands have millions of microbes on them, and you can either spread or get an illness when you don’t wash often. Keep a bottle of rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer handy when soap and water are not immediately available.
- Cover your nose and mouth with disposable tissue when you sneeze or cough (for goodness’ sake!). Teach your kids this important health practice too.
- If you or your kids are sick, don’t go around spreading the virus like it’s some good cheer. Stay put and recover at home instead.
2. Strengthen your immune system. You can do this by eating a well-balanced diet, getting enough rest and sleep, and engaging in some form of physical exercise at least 3 times a week.
3. Get annual flu vaccination. The flu vaccine, such as Vaxigrip(TM), is a safe and cost-effective option for preventing flu.
- Do you know that flu is one of the leading causes of absenteeism among employees and students? With vaccination against flu, days of absences are greatly reduced. Moreover, vaccination will save you lots on expensive medication and visits to the doctor.
- Flu shots are gotten annually. That’s because vaccine strains change every year, depending on the most prevalent flu strains circulating in the atmosphere, as determined by the World Health Organization (WHO).
- Maximize the benefits of the vaccine by getting your shot as soon as the strains for the current season are out. Often, the new vaccine for the year comes out as early as March. Check with your pediatrician or family doctor for availability.
Learn more about flu and the importance of its prevention at http://www.bakuna.ph.