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Staying Healthy During Flu Season

In my house, it’s a 3-letter-word not to be spoken out of fear that it will be invoked and we will fall prey to its ghastly grips…It’s the flu and I spend most of the winter worried about getting it and trying desperately to keep myself and my family healthy and safe from its ravages.  Ok, I may be a bit overly dramatic but I really do try my best to help protect my family from the flu.  Some people feel like there’s little you can do to try to avoid getting sick, but I really feel like there are some measures we can take to help keep that dreaded three-letter-word away this flu season.

First and foremost, my family gets the flu vaccination each year.  The CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) urges on their website www.cdc.gov/flu: “An annual seasonal flu vaccine (either the flu shot or the nasal-spray flu vaccine) is the best way to reduce the chances that you will get seasonal flu and lessen the chance that you will spread it to others.”  Have you been vaccinated this year?  Of course it’s a personal choice and if you have any questions about whether or not to get the vaccine for yourself or your children I would encourage you to speak with your medical doctor or your family pediatrician.

You might think that it’s too late in the season to bother with a vaccination if you haven’t already gotten one.  Well, the CDC explains that “The ‘seasonal flu season’ in the United States can begin as early as October and last as late as May.”  Wow, so we aren’t really quite nearing the end of flu season just yet so it may still be a good idea to get vaccinated.  Next year you may want to think about getting the vaccine in the early fall since it does take about two weeks for the vaccine to become effective.

The CDC urges us to take “3 Actions” against the flu.  #1 is to “take time to get a flu vaccine.”  #2 is to “Take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs.”  #3 is to “Take flu antiviral drugs if your doctor prescribes them.”  If you think you have the flu, call your doctor as soon as possible to find out if he or she recommends any treatment or medication.  The CDC explains on their website that “Flu-like symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people also may have vomiting and diarrhea. People may be infected with the flu, and have respiratory symptoms without a fever.”  If you are unsure whether or not you have the flu, speak with your doctor.

Just as the CDC recommends, I try to take everyday preventative actions to stop the spread of germs.  I wash my hands regularly with soap and water, try to avoid people who are obviously ill, and I stay home if I’m not feeling well.  I also try to live as healthily as possible during flu season by eating well balanced meals, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest.  I try to take care of my overall health by getting regular physicals and don’t forget about your smile!  Your oral health affects the overall health of your body so be sure to visit your dentist every six months for your cleaning and checkup!

Bright Side Dental is a dental group with locations in Sterling Heights, St. Clair Shores, Southfield,  Livonia, Canton, and Royal Oak, Michigan.  Visit www.BrightSideDental.com.

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