Flu is a big deal and it hit early and hard. But it’s not too late to get a flu shot: flu season can last as late as May. “Like all mothers, I do whatever I can to keep my son healthy—and that includes getting him immunized against the flu. I’ve learned that everyone is at risk of catching and transmitting this disease. So my family and I get annual vaccines to make sure we don’t spread the virus to him,” says actress Sarah Chalke, known for playing Dr. Elliot Reid on the hit TV series Scrubs and starring in the comedy series How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life) set to premiere in April.
The widely available vaccine is a good match for circulating flu bugs and immunity kicks in after two weeks. Federal health experts recommend that everyone 6 months of age and older be immunized annually, yet fewer than half of children ages 6 months to 17 years were immunized during the 2011-2012 flu season. Flu can lead to severe complications, even death, for patients or those with whom they come into contact. Each year in the U.S., influenza and its related complications result in an average of 226,000 hospitalizations and 3,000 to 49,000 deaths.
No vaccine is perfect. To boost your defense during outbreaks, avoid crowds and keep hands away from your face because pesky flu viruses can lurk for hours on hard surfaces. Six of the grimiest places you encounter through the day include: the kitchen sink, elevator controls (especially the first floor button), shopping cart handles, purses, playgrounds, gym equipment, and the office phone, according to leading commercial cleaning franchisor Coverall Health-Based Cleaning System®.
Learn more about the flu at facesofinfluenza.org.