Take steps to try to avoid the flu

| December 30, 2015

COSHOCTON – Flu season seems to typically follow the holidays, but there are steps you can take to try and prevent this not so merry time of year from hitting you or your loved ones.

The number one recommendation from Roxanne Potter, RN, BSN at Coshocton County Memorial Hospital is to get the flu vaccination.

“It’s not too late to get it, but it does take two weeks for it to kick in,” she said.

Anyone over the age of 6 months can get the flu vaccine, which is typically, available at health departments, doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies.

“The shot covers you for about six months and in certain regions there can be flu cases up until May,” Potter said.

Other tips to help avoid the flu and spreading it around are:

  • Wash your hands.
  • If you are sick try not to spread your sickness around.
  • Try to stay away from others who are sick.
  • Clean high touch areas such as cell phones, door knobs, counter tops and faucets.
  • After you wash your hands use a paper towel to turn the faucet off.
  • If you cough try to do it into your elbow. If you use a tissue instead make sure you throw it away and wash your hands.

“When you wash your hands it is recommended to do it for at least 15-20 seconds,” Potter said. “You also need to make sure to scrub your whole hand too. Don’t forget the back of it, your thumbs and to get under your finger nails. If you use hand sanitizer use a teaspoon of it and rub until your hands are dry. If they are still wet and you wipe them on your pants you defeat the whole purpose of using sanitizer.”

It’s also very important not to visit anyone in the hospital if you are sick.

“The flu can be really dangerous for anyone in a compromised health condition such as the elderly or sick,” said Mary Ellen Given, director of marketing at CCMH.

Sometimes, however, no matter what steps you take the flu will still get you. If you are experiencing a fever, aches, chills, fatigue, a stuffy or runny nose and a sore throat it’s probably the flu. It also can come with nausea and diarrhea.

“The flu can run up to 10 days, but it all depends on the health of a person,” Potter said. “A healthy young person could just have it for a couple of days, but someone older and not in good health could have it for a couple of weeks.”

Most of the time, the flu can be handle with over the counter medicines, but there are prescriptions that can sometimes help and if certain symptoms continue you may want to contact a doctor.

“If your fever is above 102 or stays there you really should seek medical attention,” Potter said.

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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