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It's that dreaded time of year again - cold and flu season!

Colder weather means that you and everyone around you are more susceptible to germs and catching a cold or more seriously, coming down with the flu. It's important to know not only how to take preventive measures so you don't catch these illnesses, but to know the signs and differences so you can receive the care you need to get better.

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1. Get the Flu Shot

Despite what you may have heard, the flu vaccine does not give you the flu. In fact, this annual vaccine is best way to prevent yourself from getting this contagious illness. 

Certain populations are also at a higher risk of falling ill due to the flu virus. The flu vaccine is the safest way for the elderly, young children and pregnant women to stay healthy and safe this year. It’s important to make sure that everyone six months of age and older gets this annual vaccine to protect against the spread of this potentially dangerous illness

2. Wash Your Hands - A lot

It doesn't matter what line of work you're in, you can easily come in contact with someone who is contagious. Just using soap and water and washing your hands in warm water for 26 seconds is the easiest way to get the job done. It's also smart to have an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to kill the germs when you're on the go. 

3. Keep Your Surroundings Clean

Whether you're at home or at work, keep your space clean and sanitize common touched areas such as, door knobs, light switches, remotes, even your cell phone. These items are often forgotten when it comes to basic cleaning, but they tend to carry the most germs. 

4. Know the Difference Between a Cold and the Flu

Catching a cold and coming down with the flu may seem similar, but flu symptoms are much more serious. Sp if you're experiencing loss of appetite, sore throat, sneezing, coughing and vomiting you most likely have a cold. If you have muscle pain, high fever, headache, fatigue, and the chills you likely have the flu and should make an appointment with your provider ASAP. 

If you or someone you know needs their flu shot or already has the flu and needs to see a provider, call Whitney Young Health at (518) 465-4771 and make an appointment today.

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