If you've ever had the flu, you know that it's worth doing absolutely everything in your power to never get it ever again. The flu makes a bad cold look like a case of the sniffles; and what's worse, the flu is more than merely uncomfortable — it can be incredibly dangerous or even deadly, especially for small children (and those over the age of 65). But what can you do to keep your family safe, besides locking everybody in the house until spring? Are there any hacks to avoid getting the flu? Because the struggle, in this case, would be real.
From taking the obvious precautions, from washing your hands frequently to getting the flu shot before you're infected, as well as things you may not have thought of, like being extra cautious where you put your purse (it's riddled with germs), there are plenty of old and new hacks which can prevent a serious flu outbreak in your household. Unfortunately, there are a number of factors making this season's spread a notably dangerous one: A total of 3,927 "laboratory-confirmed influenza-associated hospitalizations" between Oct. 1, 2017 and Dec. 30, 2017 in the U.S. have been reported by the CDC, and thirteen kids have died nationwide thus far. Cases of influenza spiked dramatically during the last week of December, with the outbreak spreading to 46 states; even scarier, 83 percent of reported cases were of the potentially lethal N3N2 strain (which is linked to more hospitalizations and fatalities in young children and seniors).
“Mirroring the national trends outlined by the CDC, we are seeing an increasing number of patients with influenza," says Katherine Noble, M.D., of her CT-based practice Sound Beach Pediatrics. "We strongly encourage influenza vaccination in our practice, so fortunately, most of our patients are immunized. Most of the patients we have seen with influenza this season have mild infection, and we attribute this to the vaccine, which offers immunoprotection. For those with flu-like symptoms, we encourage prompt evaluation. For those who are diagnosed with the flu here in the office, we discuss treatment options with Tamiflu and preventative strategies for family members.”
Thankfully, there are measures you can take to keep your family (including parents, kids, babies and expecting moms) as safe as possible — and while some might seem obvious, there are others you might not have considered.