Avoiding the Flu: Staying Healthy at UMaine
There are several important steps that one can take to keep themselves healthy and safe from the flu this season at the University of Maine. HealthyU visited with Sande Curtis, FNP, from the Cutler Health Center and she provided us with some positive, proactive advice on how to protect yourself and your loved ones from becoming ill this winter. We asked some questions about flu prevention and Sande answered them for us.
Why is Getting Vaccinated Important? Sande stresses that although you might not be in the risk group for serious complications from the flu, others around you might be. Infants, the elderly and those with chronic illness are all highly susceptible to the flu, which is extremely contagious. These same groups also have a much harder time fighting off the illness. Getting vaccinated will not only prevent you from getting sick but will also provide another layer of protection for those around you.
Where can I Find the Vaccine? It is very easy to find the flu vaccine. For those with the University health insurance, you may make an appointment by calling Cutler Health Center at 581-4179. University employees and their spouses are encouraged to utilize Cutler’s services for their yearly flu shot. Your primary care provider and local pharmacies are also good places to seek a flu vaccination.
How can I Reduce My Risk? Getting vaccinated is the most important step to reduce your risk of contracting the flu. Sande also recommends practicing good hygiene, which includes covering your coughs and sneezes and washing your hands or using a hand sanitizer after coming into contact with a public surface.
What if there is an Outbreak of the Flu in My Community? Sande recommends that you stay home and do your best to avoid public places in which there are a lot of people. If you are unable to avoid large groups, she recommends that you practice “social distancing,” or staying a minimum of three feet away from others in order to avoid contamination.
What if I think I have the Flu? Should an outbreak of the flu occur in your community that you may have been exposed to, Sande recommends contacting your primary care physician as soon as possible to discuss the best treatment options for you. She also recommends rest, plenty of fluids, Tylenol or aspirin for body aches and staying home until your fever has been gone for more than twenty-four hours.
These important tips will help you stay happy, healthy and well during this year’s flu season.