getting-shot-in-shoulderWith the winter here and the holidays approaching, we hope everyone is doing what they can to keep themselves and their loved ones healthy this year. With the colder temperatures comes the annual onset of flu season. While flu season may extend into the spring, it is at its worst right now and this year has been an especially harsh season so far. Since the flu can be an absolute nuisance, as well as a genuine concern for older adults, young children, and other more vulnerable groups, we thought it would be helpful to provide a few flu prevention tips.

There is no better recommendation for anyone trying to prevent the flu this winter than getting an annual flu shot. While it may not be possible to completely prevent the flu in every case, being vaccinated against the flu can effectively reduce a person’s chances of catching the flu as well as the risk of becoming seriously ill if they do become infected. Due to the changing nature of the flu virus from year to year, flu shots are intended to prevent illness from the most common flu strains in the current year. This is why we recommend getting a flu shot every year. As an added bonus, flu shots are nearly universally covered by health insurance providers, meaning they are almost always free for patients/

The healthcare providers here at Family Practice Center would also recommend taking the following steps to help lower their risk of developing the flu this winter:

  • Wash your hands regularly to avoid contracting the virus from touching hard surfaces like doorknobs while out in public. This is especially critical before preparing or eating food. We recommend washing for at least 20 seconds with hot water and soap, and carrying hand sanitizer with you to use when soap and water are not available.
  • Work to strengthen your immune system. There are things you can do to help build up your natural immunity to the flu and other viruses. Most importantly, prioritize sleeping at least 7 to 9 hours every night. Maintaining a regular exercise routine and eating a healthy, nutrient-rich diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables can also be incredibly beneficial for your immunity.
  • Use a tissue when you cough or sneeze and avoid any unnecessary touching of your face. Specifically, be careful not to touch your eyes, mouth, and nose after contact with any potentially unclean surfaces or contact with another person.

In the case that you do start to experience flu symptoms, it’s important to reach out to your healthcare provider in a timely manner to discuss potential treatment options. Here in our office, we are now able to test patients for the flu, COVID-19, and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) all at once. While there may not be a cure for the flu, there are effective prescription antiviral medications like Tamiflu that can ease symptoms and shorten the duration of the virus.

We hope everyone reading this will take the steps and take a proactive approach to health and wellness this winter. For more information or to schedule a flu shot at one of our four Atlanta area locations (Sandy Springs, Alpharetta, Canton, Cumming), please contact Family Practice Center. For more health tips, news, and practice updates, you can also follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram.