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House Calls Previously Answered Questions
Luanne Arangio-Law, R.N. M.Ed.
Community Health Nurse Educator
Q: Besides getting the annual flu shot, what can I do to protect myself and my family from the flu?
A: In addition to the annual flu shot, it is important to avoid touching your face – especially your mouth, nose and eyes. Those areas are portals for the germs that cause flu and colds. Also, vigorously washing your hands several times daily for at least 20 seconds will help minimize the risk of infection.
Each year, the Centers for Disease Control (www.cdc.gov) recommends a new flu vaccine to protect against the upcoming strains of influenza. The 2010-2011 flu vaccine will protect against a 2009 H1N1-like virus plus two other types of influenza viruses.
Everyone six months of age and older should have the flu vaccine. Because it takes about two weeks for immunity to build, it’s best to get your flu shot as soon as it becomes available. By protecting your health, you also help protect others around you who may be vulnerable to complications of the flu. If you have special medical conditions, always consult your doctor before getting the flu vaccine. For more information, visit www.pph.org/flu.