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Fend Off the Flu with These Four Tips

Staying healthy isn’t just a matter of chance — a little extra vigilance can protect against coughs and sniffles this season. Here are four keys to keep the flu at bay.

1. Perfect the Scrub
Washing our hands is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick — yet, only five percent of us are doing it correctly, says the Journal of Environmental Health. DO: Wash with soap and water for at least twenty seconds. DON’T: Use hand sanitizers that contain less than 60 percent alcohol, which are less effective at killing germs.

2. Get the Shots
The annual flu shot is designed to protect you from what health experts believe will be the most common strains of the virus this season. (Note: The flu shot isn’t foolproof, but if you do get sick, the symptoms will likely be milder.) DO: Get it sooner than later since it can take up to two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective. DON’T: Forget about pneumonia shots — these are especially important for infants, adults aged 65 or older, and those with a weakened immune system. Preventive care is covered by most health plans.

3. Know the Symptoms
Be on alert for symptoms for both colds (sore throat, stuffy nose, sneezing, and coughing) and the flu (fever, chills, aches, and fatigue). DO: Sneeze into your elbow — not your hands. DON’T: Drive drowsy due to medicine or poor sleep. Always read medicine labels beforehand and consult with a doctor about treatments.

4. Rest, rest, rest
Whether you have a cold or flu, it’s important to rest and drink plenty of fluids. Instead of trying to tough it out, it’s best to take time off work and stay in bed whenever possible. DO: Call the doctor if symptoms haven’t cleared after ten days. DON’T: Go to work, especially since you could infect coworkers.

Find more information on how Independence Blue Cross can be a part of your plan for health and wellness.

Sponsor content is created for IBX by Philadelphia magazine as a marketing collaboration with IBX. This material is intended for reference and information only and should not be used in place of advice from a doctor or suitable qualified healthcare professional.