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How to Prepare for Flu Season to Stay Healthy When Working in the Medical Industry

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Predicting the length and severity of a flu season is virtually impossible, as the timing and distribution of influenza viruses vary from year to year. And if you perform certain tasks for patients who may have the flu, you could be at a greater risk of exposure yourself.

How can you fight the flu and stay healthy this season?

Preparation Starts with Vaccination

Experts including OSHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend flu vaccines for everyone six months of age and older as the best means of preventing the disease and minimizing symptoms.

  • Vaccination is the only reliable means of stimulating antibodies so your immune system can fight infection. This is especially important for young children, pregnant women, and anyone with a chronic health condition. It takes about two weeks for the flu vaccine to take effect, so the sooner the better when it comes to getting your shot.

Be Flu Sensible

Flu is easily spread, even if a carrier doesn’t feel sick. Flu viruses are transmitted mostly by droplets that become airborne when people cough, sneeze or talk – and can land on others as far as six feet away.

  • Bugs also can survive on surfaces. You can contract them by touching your nose or mouth after touching those surfaces.
  • You can spread the flu virus for one to four days before you have symptoms. And, you can continue to be contagious from five to seven days after the first signs of flu appear.

In addition to getting your annual flu shot, follow these precautions:

  • Follow all guidelines for hand hygiene and cough etiquette. Remind fellow employees, patients and visitors to be just as compliant.
  • Stay home from work when you’re sick. Tell your coworkers to do the same.
  • Use gloves, gowns, masks and other personal protective equipment. Follow the proper steps for putting them on and removing them.
  • Keep frequently touched surfaces, such as phones and computer equipment, clean. Try not to share equipment. If this can’t be avoided, wipe it after each use with a disinfectant.
  • Stay in shape. Eat a healthy diet, and get plenty of exercise, rest and relaxation.
  • Participate in infection control training. Make sure you understand your exposure risk, as well as your facility’s policies and procedures for isolation, work practices and PPE.
  • If you’re at high risk of developing complications from the flu, ask your doctor about antiviral medications, in case you do become sick.

You have to take care of yourself in order to take good care of others.

If you need additional tips for staying well and being the best healthcare worker you can be, turn to the professional career counselors at MedicalPros Recruiting + Staffing. Read our related posts or contact us to learn more.

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