During the 2019-20 flu season, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there were anywhere from 39 million to 56 million flu illnesses in the United States.
That’s quite a few cases of the flu, and while we don’t know yet how the flu season will play out this year as we deal with COVID-19 at the same time, we’re still likely to have tens of millions of cases.
How can we get ready to face this kind of flu season? Our expert team of providers at Arlington Family Practice in Arlington, Massachusetts, has been through more than a few flu seasons, so here’s our best advice on how to prepare.
Get a flu shot
While many people don’t get the flu shot every year, studies show the vaccine reduces your overall risk of getting the flu and lessens the severity of the disease if you do contract it. The CDC recommends that everyone older than 6 months get the vaccine.
If you’re on the fence about getting the shot, remember that you’re not just protecting yourself, you’re protecting your friends and family members around you as well.
Take safety precautions
Now that COVID-19 has gotten us used to wearing a mask, staying distant from others, washing our hands frequently, and being conscious not to touch our faces, guess what? Those same precautions work well to prevent the flu from spreading.
These strategies should be your normal, everyday practice throughout flu season.
Stock up on medicine
If you do get a mild case of the flu, you need to stay home to avoid spreading it to others.
At home, you should have a few common medicines and supplies on hand for when you need them: a fever reducer such as Tylenol, ibuprofen for muscle aches, a thermometer, cough syrup, and anything else you typically use when you’re sick (soup, crackers, tissues, etc.).
Have a plan if you get sick
Build your plan ahead of time so you know what to do if you get sick. If you develop symptoms similar to COVID-19 symptoms (fever, aches, cough, shortness of breath), have your doctor’s number handy so you can call them to see if you need to be tested for the flu and/or COVID-19.
Work out a plan now that covers who can take care of your kids, get them to school and sports, and even feed them (and take care of you!) if necessary.
If you have more questions or want help putting together your flu preparedness plan, contact our office by phone or use our convenient online scheduler.
Flu season is coming — make sure you’re ready!