The first line of defense for everyone is taking time to get a flu shot, and it’s not too late to still get one. This is especially prudent advice for people with a compromised immune system, or at high risk, such as cancer or a history of cancer or those who live with or care for cancer patients and survivors.
People with cancer should NOT receive the nasal spray vaccine, the CDC warns. The flu shot is made up of inactivated (killed) viruses, and the nasal spray vaccines are made up of live viruses.
The flu shot is safer for those with a weakened immune system. If you get the flu, anti-viral medications are available by prescription through your doctor to help lessen the symptoms.
Follow these good health habits to lessen your chances of getting sick and reduce the spread of flu:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash immediately after use.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth; germs spread this way.
- Try to stay at least six feet away from people who appear ill.
- If you are sick with flu-like illness, stay at home at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine. Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making them sick.
- Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds, and other social distancing measures.
Be prepared in case you get sick with a supply of over-the-counter medicines, alcohol-based hand sanitizer and tissues.
More healthy tips are available through the CDC website at: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/habits/
Lynette Summerill is an award-winning writer and Scuba enthusiast who lives in San Diego with her husband and two beach loving dogs. Besides writing about cancer-related issues for EmpowHER, her work has been seen in newspapers and magazines around the world.