With frigid temperatures remaining in the U.P. health concerns are a top priority. January is peak flu season, and as ABC 10’s Danielle Davis reports, there’s still time to reduce your risk of getting the flu.
Health officials say the best deterrent to keep from getting the flu is getting a flu shot. The sooner you get the shot, the better, as it takes a week or two to fully take effect. If you do find yourself with the flu, head to a doctor’s office immediately.
Dr. Doug LaBelle of Bell Hospital says, “If we don’t catch folks within that first two day period we don’t have a lot to offer as the illness runs its’ course.”
If you’re not sure if you have the flu or a severe cold, here are a few flu symptoms to look for. “Primarily high fever, bad cough muscle aches, everything hurts,” said Dr. LaBelle. To keep yourself from spreading the virus, you want to cover your mouth when you cough, but coughing into your hands is not always the best option.
Dr. LaBelle also says, “Coughing into your hands and then touching other areas like doorknobs, telephones, etc., is a good way to spread the illness. Coughing into the sleeve is best. If you do cough into your hand, use a alcohol-based hand gel or, ideally, wash your hands right away.”
“Stay home if you are sick, at least 24 hours after your fever has gone away without the use of antibiotics. Hand washing, keeping your hands away from your face and mouth,” says Marquette County Health Department immunization field representative Jean Reynolds. Wash your hands in warm, not hot water and wash them for at least 15 to 20 seconds. “Some people say to sing the Happy Birthday Song, sing the ABC Song, things everyone should know to know how long to wash their hands for,” Reynolds said.
If you’re interested in getting a flu shot, visit www.michigan.gov/flu for locations and more information.