Fall is here, which means football is on television every weekend, it’s time to get out all of our long-sleeved clothes, and we get to taste pumpkin-flavored everything.
But fall also brings on more sniffles, sneezes, runny noses, fevers and coughs. Flu season can start as early as October, by typically peaks in the U.S. in January.
Here are five easy things to do to keep your family healthy during flu season:
1. Get your flu immunization as soon as it’s available.
The flu vaccine protects people against the influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the upcoming season.
"The seasonal flu vaccine is the single best way to prevent getting the flu. Your child needs to get a flu vaccine every year, typically at the start of the flu season in early fall (the season lasts October through May). We recommend that children 6 months old and older get the flu vaccine," says Stacy O'Sullivan, M.D.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says those ages 2 through 49, who are not pregnant, can use the nasal spray vaccine.
2. Wash hands frequently with soap and water.
Wash hands long enough to sing through “Happy Birthday” twice. When soap and water aren’t available, then use hand sanitizer. It’s good to have hand sanitizer handy to disinfect shared equipment such as keyboards, phones, doorknobs and shopping cart handles.
3. When coughing or sneezing, use a tissue or cough into your elbow.
This prevents germs spreading from your hand to items you touch. Throw tissues away immediately after use.
4. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes, mouth and nose as you are likely contaminating yourself with germs.
Flu viruses are spread when people touch something that is contaminated with the virus and then rub their eyes, nose or mouth.
5. Eat nutritious food, drink plenty of water and get plenty of sleep.
Foods rich in vitamins C and E can create a strong immune system. Drinking water flushes your system and keeps you hydrated during the dry, cold winter months. Doctors recommend adults get seven to eight hours of sleep per night, children need more.
Be sure and listen to your body. If you think you’re getting the flu, it’s best to stay home and rest to get better and prevent others from getting sick.
Flu shots are available now at Pediatric Specialists of Tulsa, located at 74th & Yale. Call to make an appointment at 918-523-KIDS or visit their website at http://www.pediatricspecialistsoftulsa.com.
About Dr. Stacy O'Sullivan MD
Dr. Stacy O'Sullivan graduated Alpha Omega Alpha from the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine in 1995. Dr. O'Sullivan completed a surgical internship at the University of Oklahoma prior to entering her pediatrics training at the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine-Tulsa. Since then she has worked at the former St. Francis Children's Hospital Urgent Care Clinic, St. Francis Children's ER and served as medical director and pediatrician at the Tulsa Pediatric After Hours Urgent Care. Her dream has been to open her own practice to better serve the patients she loves. Dr. O'Sullivan lives in Tulsa with her husband and three children.
About Pediatric Specialists of Tulsa
At Pediatric Specialists of Tulsa, Dr. Stacy O'Sullivan and Dr. Uyen Le offer comprehensive medical care for infants, children and adolescents. Conveniently located in the heart of Tulsa, their courteous and knowledgeable staff works hard from first contact to make every visit to our office positive. Their goal is to equip parents with the knowledge necessary for promoting lifetime optimal health and wellness.