By: Valerie Valcour
Sometimes I wait until the last minute to get things done. I hate to admit it but I was late getting my flu shot this year, but thankfully not too late! According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), typical flu activity, or influenza season, peaks between December and March. It would have been best if I got my vaccine before the end of December, but one can still get the vaccine throughout the influenza season, while supplies last of course. It is best, however, for individuals who have a compromised immune system, older adults, or children to get the vaccine as soon as it is available. To learn more about the flu vaccine and other vaccinations, check out the Health Department’s immunization website.
What else can I do to prevent the flu? Washing my hands frequently with mild soap and warm water is the best defense. Using an antibacterial hand sanitizer is helpful, in a pinch. It’s important to keep my hands moisturized to prevent cracks and dry skin is also helpful. Keeping surfaces clean and avoiding touching my eyes, nose and mouth, are all ways to try and limit my exposure to the influenza or cold virus. The CDC has a tip sheet on Everyday Ways to Prevent the Flu. Here you can learn how to prevent the spread of flu and cold viruses at home and at work, and there are tips specific for kids too.
Fortunately, I have not had a cold or the flu (yet) and I hope not to get the flu! I will do my best to drink plenty of water, get my servings of fruits and vegetables every day and try to get in my 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
Now if I do get sick, I will plan to stay home and away from public places to prevent further spreading of the influenza virus.
The Vermont Department of Health has several posters and fact sheets to help you understand more about the flu and cold. Check them out!
For more information, you can always call your doctor or the Vermont Department of Health at 802-888-7447. Stay healthy!
Valerie Valcour is a Public Health Nurse and specializes in chronic disease prevention and emergency preparedness at the community level for the Department of Health in Morrisville. Valerie has lived in Lamoille County most of her life. She graduated from People’s Academy in 1983 and worked as a nurse at Copley Hospital for several years. In addition to her work, she volunteers as a board member of both Community Health Services of Lamoille Valley and the Lamoille County Planning Commission.