Flu Season Has Arrived

Get a Flu Shot, Wash Your Hands and Stay Healthy

Javier Baez, MD, providing flu shots and posed at the Montgomery location.

CINCINNATI—Flu season has arrived in the Tristate, but a UC Health physician offers a few tips for some simple advice for staying healthy: get a flu shot.

“Flu shots can help you stay well and also protect the individuals you encounter during daily interactions,” says Javier Baez, MD, a UC Health primary care physician and assistant professor in University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine’s Department of Internal Medicine.

“The vaccine is created from an inactivated part of the flu so it won’t actually cause the flu,” says Baez, who sees patients at UC Health’s primary care office in Montgomery. “Some years it is more effective than others since it can be hard to predict yearly strains. Regardless, it is important for everyone to receive a flu shot, but especially for those who have diabetes or lung issues and for those who have had transplants in the past.”

A flu shot will protect against the highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages, says Baez, which becomes more widespread through the winter.

Baez also suggests adults get a booster vaccine to protect against pertussis, or whooping cough, a highly contagious bacterial disease that causes uncontrollable, violent coughing, which can be fatal for infants.

Expectant mothers and caregivers of newborns should receive the pertussis booster to protect infants from the illness.

Baez says the flu vaccine typically includes three to four strains of inactivated flu based off data researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collect. Flu season typically begins the end of September and continues until February or March though sometimes cases occur in late spring, says Baez.

So how do you know if you have the flu?

“You are going to experience upper respiratory symptoms,” says Baez. “You will also run a high fever, usually with shakes and body chills. You really won’t feel well. It feels like any other viral illness but more intense in your discomfort.”

It’s always smart to check in with your physician if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, says Baez.

“If you think you have the flu it is good to stay home, wash your hands and make sure you are getting plenty of fluids,” says Baez. “Eat as well as you can.”

Baez also offers the following tips to protect against cold, flu, pertussis and other seasonal woes:

  1. Wash your hands, especially before mealtimes or if you are sick; use soap and water when available and an alcohol-based rub otherwise.
  2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth since openings in the mucous membrane allow germs into the body.
  3. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  4. Stay home when you are sick to keep people who are around you from becoming ill.
  5. Keep children home from school or day care if they are sick; children should stay home 24 hours after a fever has subsided. It doesn’t count if you have used an over-the-counter medication to bring down the fever, it must ease on its own.
  6. Make sure you get plenty of sleep, stay active physically and stay hydrated.
  7. Use good hygiene at work and clean off phones, computers and doorknobs using alcohol rubs or disinfecting wipes.
  8. Make sure you get fresh air by spending even a few minutes outdoors during the winter months when weather conditions allow. Sunshine will help against seasonal affective disorder.

Adults, ages 18 and older interested in scheduling appointments with Baez should call 513-936-4510.

He is accepting new patients at UC Health Primary Care, 9275 Montgomery Rd, Suite 200, Cincinnati, OH 45242.

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