With the holiday season starting, so has the flu season.
CRMC Infection Prevention manager Stephanie Etter said the best way to prevent the flu is the shot.
“It’s really a misconception that the flu shot doesn’t work because even if it’s not a perfect match, you’re still going to get a partial match. If you get the flu and you’ve had a flu shot, you’re not going to have as many symptoms, you shouldn’t have as high a fever, and you shouldn’t be sick for as many days. [So] partial protection is better than no protection.”
The shot reduces the virus amount in your body so you are not as contagious, Etter said. In addition to the shot, sanitation reduces your risk of contracting the flu.
“Avoid touching your face as much as possible because that’s how the flu is spread. By droplets from the nose and mouth and things that we touch and we touch our eyes, nose, and mouth, that’s one of the best ways that the flu is spread. Of course coughing: cough and sneeze into your sleeve.”
Etter said carrying alcohol based wipes to clean areas that are rarely cleaned, such as the gas pump, also lowers your chance of getting sick.
There are two types of the flu Type A and B, Etter said. If you’ve been diagnosed with Type B, you won’t be as sick.
The hospital reports flu cases remain low with at least 20 Type B patients so far. Etter said that number will likely increase after the new year.
“Typically though we here at the hospital see it pick up after the kids come back from Christmas break, so usually the first of January we see an increase.”
Etter said despite the low number, the hospital has implemented restrictions preventing children 16 and under from visiting patients.