Sickness spreads in many ways. You can breathe in germs when someone talks, coughs, or sneezes. You get some diseases, like chickenpox or pinkeye, if you touch a person who has it. And you can catch others, like hepatitis B, by having sex with an infected person or by coming in contact with their blood.
It's December and everywhere you look friends and family are down with flu symptoms: fevers, body aches, and fatigue.
If you're still feeling pretty chipper yourself, great! But if you want to hedge your bets, it's good to know that even though flu season is in full swing, it's not too late for the added protection of the flu vaccine.
Flu viruses change from year to year. So each year, manufacturers develop a new vaccine based on predictions of what strains of influenza viruses will be around...
Make sure your family is up to date on their vaccinations. That includes adults, who should get a tetanus/diphtheria/pertussis booster vaccine (also called Tdap) if they haven’t had one yet. Then they should get a diphtheria/tetanus, or Td, booster every 10 years. People over 60 should get a shot to prevent shingles. People 65 and over need to get two pneumonia shots. And most everyone over 6 months old should get a yearly flu vaccine. Adults may also need any vaccinations that they didn't get as children.
Remember, more shots means fewer chances for disease to spread.
Wash Your Hands
The CDC calls hand washing a “do-it-yourself vaccine.” It’s one of the easiest things you can do to stop germs in their tracks. Follow these steps to make sure:
Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold).
Use soap. Rub your hands together for 20 seconds - about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice.
Dry your hands with a clean towel or let them air dry.
Don’t have soap and water? Use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.