What Can I Do to Prevent the Flu?
Jill Promoli and her family know more than anyone how debilitating the flu can be. In 2016, Jill lost her son Jude to influenza B, despite having been immunized earlier that year. Jude’s twin brother Thomas and sister Isla had been able to build up an immunity to the virus, but sadly Jude’s immune system did not.
The flu can derail even the most relaxed of schedules, but for at-risk groups like children, the complications are a parent's worst nightmare. For many of us, parents and non-parents alike, the flu shot is the best first-line of defense against the flu, but everyone needs to be immunized for it to fully protect the most vulnerable members of a community. Fortunately, there are lots of ways we can work together to help stop the flu from spreading.
1. STAY HOME
Trust me, I know how difficult it can be to stay home when you’ve got deadlines at work, but think about the office! One sick person at work can quickly turn into many sick people in a germy environment. If you’ve got kids, it’s especially important that you keep them at home when they’re sick. Don’t mask a fever with Tylenol and send them to school or daycare — keep them in bed with lots of soup and Paw Patrol until they’re without symptoms for 24 hours.
2. DISINFECT SURFACES AND PRACTICE GOOD HYGIENE
The flu is mostly spread through tiny droplets of the virus that escape when you cough, sneeze, or speak so it’s important you cover your mouth when sneezing and cough into your sleeve to keep the germs at bay. If you’re sick or are around people who are sick, make sure to wash your hands regularly with soap and pay special attention to hard surfaces.
Did you know the flu virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours? Doorknobs, phones, keyboards, and keys are all items that are frequently touched and can be easily be covered in flu germs, spreading the virus around every time they come into contact with skin. Be sure to disinfect these areas regularly to make sure germs aren’t taking up residence in your household and making you sick!
Jill (second from right) with family, celebrating Jude's life as they continue to advocate for flu prevention.
3. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
Self-care isn’t a trend — for busy moms like us, personal care is so important. Eat foods that make you feel good, drink plenty of fluids, get regular exercise, and make sure you get enough sleep to keep your A-game going strong. Your body can’t help you fight illness if you don’t help build its defenses!
A huge obstacle in flu prevention is a general lack of awareness about how serious the flu can be and the level of impact a single person can have on their community’s immunity against it. Yet still, the best prevention comes when everyone does their part.
Share this site and other flu prevention resources, and speak openly with friends and family about the flu. Do what you can to stay healthy this flu season!