Preventing the Flu: Actions to Take

Here in central Illinois, flu season is upon us.

Though the flu is often mentioned alongside the common cold, it's anything but a casual ailment. Not only can the flu cause a fever, stuffy nose, headache, and fatigue, but it can also lead to pneumonia — a serious infection that can require hospitalization.

During the winter months, it’s important to do all that we can to prevent getting the flu. So, what can you do? Lots of things!

Here are just a few of the easiest, most effective, actions you can take to keep yourself flu-free this season:

1. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.

This may seem like a simple, albeit obvious, suggestion but it's one that people forget about or do incorrectly all too often. You need to do it right, or all your efforts will go down the drain — literally!

Start with a rinse in either hot or cold water, the temperature is not important. What is important, is to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap for at least 20 seconds. A good rule of thumb? Scrub for as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice!

On the go and without access to soap and water? Keep an alcohol-based sanitizer on hand.

2. Elect to get the flu vaccination.

Your primary defense against the flu is the flu vaccination. As per the CDC, everyone 6 months and older should receive the flu vaccine annually. And no, getting the flu vaccine will not give you the flu! What it will do is help prevent you from getting sick with the flu, reduce the risk of flu-associated hospitalization, protect those around you who are more vulnerable, and more. Best of all, the flu shot is inexpensive or even free with most health insurance plans.

Don’t hesitate — vaccinate!

3. Keep up with healthy habits.

Practicing healthy living habits can keep your immune system in tip-top shape, which leads to a better chance of warding off illnesses like the flu. This means eating well, exercising regularly, stressing less, and getting plenty of sleep.

To help where your fitness regimen is concerned, we’re pleased to announce our new KMC Active facility! This new facility, attached to our existing CrossFit KMC facility, will be a space dedicated to non-CrossFit programs such as: KMC Yoga, KMC 30 (30 minute, bodyweight workout), and KMC Endurance (45 minute, cardio exercises). Click here for the class schedule, if interested you get to try 1 FREE trial class before joining!

4. Visit the doctor.

If you’re feeling under the weather, visit your primary care doctor. If you have the flu, your doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs that can make the illness milder as well as prevent serious flu complications, like pneumonia.

This is just the short list! Remember, although these actions can help, there is no surefire way to keep from coming down with the flu.

If you feel yourself getting sick and are worried about complications, Kirby Medical Center is here to help. To schedule an appointment, please call 217.762.2115. Our physicians can answer any questions you may have and help find a treatment that's right for you.