The 2013 flu season is upon us, and this year’s flu outbreak is proving to be one of the most dangerous in recent history. The elderly, young children and individuals with compromised immune systems due to illnesses and chronic disorders such as cancer and diabetes are especially at risk, but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and others this flu season, including getting your annual flu shot.

Here are a few simple things you can do to ward off this year’s nasty flu strains:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially in the workplace. Wash vigorously between fingers and under fingernails for at least thirty seconds, especially after coughing, sneezing or shaking hands in the workplace.
  • Sneeze or cough into your elbow or a tissue. This helps reduce the amount of airborne germs and the risk of hand-to-hand transfer of the virus.
  • Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, being especially careful to avoid the mouth, nose and eyes. These areas provide easy access for germs and viruses.
  • Avoid contact with those already ill. If caring for a loved one who is ill, wash your hands thoroughly after interacting with them and be sure to discard used tissues quickly and safely.
  • If you fall ill, call in sick to work. It is recommended that you stay home for a week after symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for at least 24 hours. Get plenty of fluids and bed rest and eat foods rich in protein and vitamins.

It is also highly recommended that everyone over 6 months of age receive the latest flu shot. The flu is constantly evolving and requires a new vaccination each season. There are many places in Bell County to get an affordable flu shot, including major pharmacies like CVS and Wallgreens, HEB grocers and your local health clinic.

Click here for a nifty tool to help you find your nearest vaccination centers and shop around!