Health in the midst of flu season

Signal file photo.
Signal file photo.

If you hope to avoid getting sick this flu season, then get a flu shot, said Dr. Tracy “Bud” Lawrence.

“Everybody always asks, ‘if I should get a shot or not,’ but the No. 1 best way to avoid getting sick during the flu season is to get the flu shot,” said the medical director of the Henry Mayo Urgent Care Center. “There’s overwhelming evidence that it’s helpful,” and the time to get it is now.

“Really, we talk about getting the flu shot at the end of September and beginning of October, so if you haven’t, then you should be,” Lawrence said, adding there’s no excuse not to since the flu shot is available at most community pharmacies.

“Most urgent cares will have it in stock,” but so will most community pharmacies, he said. The price point should be around $25-$30 no matter where you walk in.

“It’s a small price to pay to protect yourself through the winter months,” he added, before sharing some additional ways to prevent sickness in these coming weeks.

“There’s a lot of anecdotal theories (that) vitamin C and, perhaps, zinc can keep you healthy or shorten the length of illness, but  — really — nothing out there is going to beat something as simple as hand-washing,” according to Lawrence. Coupling that habit with the flu shot will have the greatest impact.

Another simple solution is to avoid other people if you are sick. Also, try to sneeze or cough into the bend of your elbow, because you don’t want droplets in the air, Lawrence said. “That’s how others get sick,” so the importance of handwashing and staying home also can’t be stressed enough.

“If you are sick, be kind enough to stay home,” he said. “Fever and flu-like symptoms are best to keep at home so you’re not infecting others.”

But again, get the flu shot so you’re not dealing with the symptoms in the first place, the doctor said.

“It’s by no means 100 percent effective but it’s much, much better than going without it,” Lawrence said, adding, “It’s super important that the young and super old get a flu shot, too.”

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