November 27, 2014
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Flu (Seasonal)

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Beat the Flu Before it Beats You

Beat the Flu Before it Beats You

It seems to happen to you every year. You're in the middle of working on a project, your boss appreciates your dedication, you've got a couple of great parties coming up - and then you get hit what seems like symptoms of the flu! "Not now!" you cry, as fever, body aches, cough, and fatigue begin to set in.

This year, don't let the flu beat you. Come up with a plan to prevent it. These steps may seem obvious, but people sometimes forget to take them. This year, make sure you do!

Identify potential flu zones. Is that co-worker of yours sniffling more than usual? Is the person seated next to you on the bus coughing and not covering their mouth? Think of the places that may spread the flu - crowded areas come to mind - and simply stay away.

Defend yourself! It's not always possible to stay away from people who are obviously sick. And because people can be contagious with the flu even before they show symptoms, you may get infected even if you're near someone who doesn't look sick. So what's your best bet? Defence!

  • Ask your health care provider about getting the flu vaccine.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. Count to 20 when washing your hands. And if soap and water aren't handy, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Resist touching your face - the flu virus can enter the body through the eyes, nose, or mouth via your hands (which can carry the virus if you touch a contaminated surface).
  • Regularly clean and disinfect common surface areas. At work, keep your desk, phone, and doorknob clean, especially if other people stop by often. If you have lent your pen or other supplies to someone, clean them before putting them back in their place.

Watch out for symptoms. Symptoms of flu include sudden onset of fever, sudden onset of cough, fatigue, sore throat, muscle or body aches, headache, runny nose, and loss of appetite. Some people even experience diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting.

  • Be on the lookout for these symptoms, and get yourself home as soon as you notice them, especially if you know you're likely to have the flu because you've been in contact with someone with the flu.
  • Consider talking to your doctor for treatment options, which may include symptom treatment (things to treat symptoms such as fever or muscle aches) and antiviral medication, which can decrease the length of time you have the flu if taken within 48 hours of the start of flu symptoms. Seeing a doctor is especially important if you are at a higher risk of complications related to the flu (such as pneumonia or bronchitis). People at high risk include people with existing medical conditions (e.g., asthma, diabetes, heart disease), pregnant women, and people who are very obese.

If you've done all you can but still end up getting the flu, don't be a hero. Call in sick so that you don't spread the flu to others in your office and so you give your body time to rest and recover. If you live with other people, stay away from them and ask your doctor about ways to help prevent the flu infection if someone in the house is infected with the flu.

Read more about flu symptoms and what you can do in this infographic.


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