How to protect yourself from the flu virus

By Lauren Benton

Flu season is in full swing on the Northwest campus, so here are some tips to stay healthy, how to avoid the flu and how to recognize the virus before it is too late.

First things first, wash your hands as much as possible. If you cannot get to soap and water, alcohol-based hand sanitizer is always a good second best. I always keep one in my backpack, purse, car and one in my dorm.

Make sure to wash your hands before every meal, after using the restroom, after using public keyboards and after pumping gas.

When you are sick, stay home. Do not run the risk of possibly infecting people you come into contact with at your job or school.

Avoid any close contact with people who are sick.  Protect yourself from catching the virus. Also, steer clear of sharing drinks and food with people. Germs are spread usually when someone touches something so try not to touch your mouth, nose and eyes.

If you find yourself coughing or with a runny nose make sure to cough into the inside of your elbow and using tissues as much as possible.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus. It is a mild to severe illness that could lead to death.

Symptoms of the virus are:

• Fever

• Chills

• Sore throat

• Runny nose

• Muscle/body aches

• Headaches

• Fatigue (tiredness)

• Vomiting/diarrhea (more common in children than adults)

Our local Walgreens carries a seasonal flu shot. This season’s vaccine protects against 3 influenza viruses that research indicates will be most common during the season.

The only downfall to taking the flu shot according to http://www.walgreens.com, is you may still be susceptible to the flu during the two weeks after your flu shot as the vaccine takes effect.

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