With December upon us, it’s more than a nip in the air that you might notice. People clearing their scratchy throats or turning away with a hacking cough: the telltale signs the holiday flu season is here. The flu, or influenza, is that seemingly unavoidable winter illness that makes our noses, throats and lungs miserable. But there are steps you can take to stay well. The experts at NurseWise, a national multilingual nurse triage and health education provider, want to share five flu facts to help keep you and your family healthier this year, just in time for National Influenza Vaccination Week:
1. A little bit goes a long, long way. Your first instinct may be to move away from people blowing their noses and coughing. But did you know that the flu can be spread from a distance of about 6 feet? Influenza can be spread through both direct contact with bodily fluids from sneezing or coughing as well as through touching things with the flu virus on them, like door knobs. Your best bet isn’t avoiding people; it’s getting your flu shot.
2. A fever is just the beginning. Most of us have been told that the flu is contagious as long as we have a fever. The truth is the contagious period last much, much longer than that! Adults are infectious one day before symptoms appear and stay infectious for up to a week after getting sick. Kids can pass it on for even longer. Flu vaccinations, on the other hand, last all season long.