Help Your Family Stay Flu-Free This Season With These Tips

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Influenza can be a major concern for many families during this time of year, and for good reason. According to the Centers For Disease Control, "millions of people become ill, hundreds of thousands are hospitalized, and thousands or tens of thousands of people die from flu every year." Simply put, the flu isn't just a bad cold. It's much more dangerous than minor illnesses, especially for children. So what can you do to protect the ones you love this season? Follow the top tips below.

Get your vaccine now
Although there are a lot of misconceptions about the flu vaccine, getting your yearly vaccination is the best thing you can do to prevent this illness. Contrary to popular belief, getting vaccinated will not make you come down with the flu. And it's never been easier to get your immunizations. You can see one of the 20,000 physicians who practice at urgent medical care centers nationwide to receive your vaccination. Even young children can (and should) get the flu shot every year to avoid the risk of infection.

Make hand-washing a habit
Another great way to prevent coming down with a fever? Keep your hands clean. Frequent hand-washing can help you avoid the flu and other diseases. Even if the process doesn't kill germs, it gets them off your hands. And considering how many surfaces and body parts we touch during the day, interrupting the path of viruses and bacteria can help keep your family safe. Encourage your children to wash their hands often by singing songs together. Not only will this make them look forward to washing their hands, but the length of the song will also ensure they don't speed through it.

Clean off technology, desks, and other spaces
In conjunction with cleaning your body, you'll also need to clean the items and locations your family tends to frequent. Your desk at work and electronic devices can harbor all kinds of gunk and germs, while your child's toy box and school supplies might be infested with gross contaminants. Unless you want to head to an urgent medical care center for treatment after someone gets sick, be proactive about cleaning these spaces and items regularly. Equip your kids with bacteria-removing wipes for school and keep a bunch for your desk at work. You can even invest in devices that will safely clean your iPads and smartphones. Make cleaning into a fun weekend activity where everyone plays an important part.

Stay active and get plenty of sleep
You and your family can boost your immunity by living a healthier lifestyle overall. Getting a good amount of regular exercise and plenty of sleep will serve you well in all areas, but particularly when it comes to staving off diseases. When you exercise, the increased blood flow will move white blood cells around the body and can help you fight infections. Getting more sleep allows your body to heal and gather strength to fight off infections, too. And of course, eat plenty of nutritious fruits, vegetables, and grains. If you do happen to come down with the flu, sleep and nutrition can also be part of an effective treatment (though they are not substitutes for medications recommended by your doctor).

This flu season, help protect your loved ones by following these tips. And if you do experience flu-like symptoms, be sure to head to your local urgent medical care center for flu treatment. Your urgent medical care staff can provide you with ways to reduce the severity of your symptoms and even reduce the length of your illness, in some cases.