The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

January 12, 2014

Flu vaccine is best way to protect against virus

ENID, Okla. — Flu is widespread in Oklahoma, and unfortunately as of late last week five people have died from influenza-related complications.

More than 240 people also have been hospitalized after contracting influenza.

While there is no fool-proof way of avoiding catching the flu, Oklahoma Department of Health continues to emphasize the best way to protect yourself is to get the flu vaccine.

Most people who get the flu don’t require hospitalization, but it still makes you feel lousy.

Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

You can help reduce your chances of getting the flu by doing some simple things, most notably washing your hands. Wash them often, especially after coughing, sneezing or shaking hands.

Wash them for at least 30 seconds using warm water and soap. Hand sanitizer also can help.

If you practice good health habits, that can reduce your chances, too.

Do things like eat nutritious foods, stay hydrated, be physically active, get plenty of rest and manage your stress.

If you are unlucky enough to come down with the flu, the best thing you can do is stay home.

That will lessen your chance of infecting others.

That means stay home from work, school and shopping.

You should stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Drink plenty of fluids and get plenty of rest.

As we said, nothing is fool-proof, but you can do things that will greatly reduce your chances of coming down with the flu.

Stay well and stay safe.

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