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Tips to Avoid the Flu

Jan 24, 2013

The flu is upon us, and those who watch the national news know that some communities have seen significant increases in flu cases. The Pacific campus, however, has seen few cases of the illness, and the incident rate in San Joaquin County is very low.

Flu viruses spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing, and a person may be spreading the influenza virus up to one day before showing any signs of being ill. Once sick, a person can infect others with influenza for up to seven days. Flu shots are available at your favorite pharmacy or Public Health clinic. Remember to use these helpful tips to avoid catching the flu or giving it to others:

  • Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Throw the tissue away afterwards. If you do not have a tissue available, sneeze/cough into your arm or elbow, sometimes known as the "vampire method" because it makes people look like a "vampire" who is covering their face with a cape like they did in old horror movies.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water. If water is not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid infected people. Stay at least 6 feet away from the person.
  • Get the flu vaccine. Pacific Health Services is no longer able to get more of the vaccine; however, most pharmacies and Public Health still have them available.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink lots of fluids - hot and cold.
  • Get out in open space and avoid groups of people.
  • Keep fit. Be sure to exercise at least 30 minutes almost every day.
  • Be sure to get enough Vitamin D, especially when the number of hours of daylight decreases.
  • Eat your greens, blues and oranges (not just M&Ms!). Foods with these colors have immune boosting phytochemicals.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Limit alcohol since it can depress your immune system.
  • Get plenty of rest.

Individuals with the flu virus typically have a high fever, body aches, cough (dry, non-productive), sore throat, headaches, chills and fatigue. With the flu, symptoms come on rapidly. Individuals with colds usually feel the symptoms come on slowly and rarely have high fevers. It can take several days to feel better and the cough and fatigue may linger for several weeks.

Please see San Joaquin County Public Health Services influenza information page and vaccine finder for more information. Or visit Pacific's Health Services web pages for information on how to make an appointment.