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Preventing the flu

Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after disposing of dirty tissues.

By Lou Ann Bruno-Murtha, DO, Division Chief, CHA Infectious Diseases

According to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, there have been over 200 confirmed instances of influenza across the state already. Flu season in the United States generally runs from October to May, with a peak between December and February.

The best strategy to prevent the flu virus is to get an annual flu vaccine as it will help build the necessary antibodies for preventing influenza or minimize the severity of illness. Haven’t had your flu shot yet? It’s not too late! Here's how:

Unfortunately, a flu shot won't keep everyone healthy. But, getting the flu shot each year can mean that if you do get the flu, you might have only a mild case. Beyond receiving a flu shot, here are a few suggestions (not exciting but effective) on how to prevent the spread of germs that might carry the flu virus:

  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (or use the crux of your arm) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Use the nearest trash barrel to dispose of tissues.
  • Wash hands or use hand sanitizer frequently, especially after disposing of dirty tissues.
  • Wipe down surfaces, e.g. desk space, kitchen counter, car seats, at least once a week with sanitary wipes or more frequently if a flu-like illness or cold is circulating in your home or workplace.
  • Stay home when sick to keep illnesses from spreading and call a healthcare provider if symptoms progress or if you have other diseases that increase your risk for complications.

For more great information about the flu, check out the resources available at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

Cambridge Health Alliance

Contributed By: Cambridge Health Alliance

Cambridge Health Alliance is an academic community health care system committed to serving all members of our communities. We have expertise in primary care, mental health and substance abuse, and caring for diverse and complex populations. CHA patients receive high quality care in convenient neighborhood locations, and have seamless access to advanced care through CHA’s affiliation with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. With over 140,000 patients in Cambridge, Somerville Everett and Boston’s Metro North, CHA is working hard to offer the integrated services its communities need now, and in the future.