The flu season is already underway, and every year, experts predict that it may be a bad one.  You hear on the news where children, older adults, and those with chronic illnesses or more susceptible than others and often pass away as a result from the flu.  So please do not delay in getting your flu shot as soon as possible. Chester County’s health department has a widespread program offering flu shots throughout the community. Click here to see where a flu shot is occurring in your area. Most area pharmacies and clinics are also offering flu shots, many at low or no cost.

Flu Season Information

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has posted information about this year’s flu season

and report that this year’s flu shot better matches the viruses in circulation, meaning it is likely to do a better job in preventing illness than last year.  Of course, new flu viruses can start to circulate, but by getting a flu shot, you’ll be better able to fight off many of the variants.

You Can Be Sick and Not Know It

The incubation period for the flu is between 1 and 4 days, with people being able to infect others a day or so before getting symptoms and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick.  That means it’s pretty easy to spread the flu before you know you’re even sick, and it means there’s a greater chance of catching the flu from just being out in public. And for older people, the flu and other respiratory illnesses can run the risk of turning into more serious issues like pneumonia.

What We Do To Stay Well

Here at Kendal~Crosslands Communities, we make sure every employee gets the flu shot annually to reduce the risk of transmission, and encourage our residents to do so as well. But we all know the flu shot varies in effectiveness year to year, so what other steps can you take to try to prevent getting sick in the first place?

What should I do to protect myself from flu this season?

CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease.

In addition to getting a seasonal flu vaccine, the CDC also recommends keeping on top of good health habits during flu season including:

  1. Avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and staying home when you are sick.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose. Certainly covering your own mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing is important, and helps prevent others from getting sick.  MIT did a study and found a sneeze can travel up to 200 feet, so those innocuous sneezes cover more distance than you expect!
  3. Washing Hands. Washing your hands often, keeping hand sanitizer close by, and even wiping down items several people use, including the phone, remotes, light switches and keyboards can help eliminate the spread of germs.
  4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. This one is important to avoid spreading germs, but it can be really hard when your mucous membranes are dry, especially due to spending time indoors during cold weather. That’s why staying hydrated and adding a humidifier may also help!
  5. Keep other good habits in mind– Get good sleep, be physically active, manage stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious meals.  This will help you from getting run down, and keep your immune system in fighting shape!

In addition, there are prescription medications called antiviral drugs that can be used to treat influenza illness. Visit What you Should Know About Flu Antiviral Drugs for more information.

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These tips can’t guarantee you won’t get sick this season, but they will lessen your chances and help protect your family and community from getting sick if you do get sick yourself. 

Remember that an ounce of prevention and staying hydrated can help make this flu season less of a worry for everyone! And don’t forget that we have a fully licensed Medicare Certified Health Center on campus to take care of health needs, to help you as needed!