Keeping Healthy During Flu Season

October 21, 2004 – Posted at 3:15 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO -- With a national shortage of flu shots this year, many people are finding themselves unable to be inoculated against the illness. But what can you do to keep yourself healthy as the winter months approach?

If you're not one of the lucky few who got a flu shot this year, then you'll need to know how to protect yourself from the virus. First things first.

Family Practitioner Dr. Zshvetta Jones said, "It's best that if you're feeling ill, you should stay at home."

Being at school or work can spread germs quickly.

"When people sneeze or cough they should cover their noses and their mouths. Using Kleenex helps. Immediately washing your hands after you sneeze or cough because you can get respiratory droplets on your hands and of course if you touch someone else then that's increasing the risk of the spread of infection," said Dr. Jones.

According to the CDC, influenza kills more than 36,000 people in the U.S. every year. But by taking a few precautions you can keep healthy this winter. "Wash your hands faithfully, hot water and soap will go a long way," said Dr. Jones.

Also having a healthy lifestyle can help.

"Eating a healthy diet helps you to keep from becoming sick, exercising regularly and minimizing exposure to other sick people," said Dr. Jones.

And keeping your area clean can make a big difference.

"Germs can remain on your furniture surfaces. that's why it's important even in your home or in your offices, to clean your home or your office with antibacterial products. or even products that will kill viruses such as the flu. Alcohol is good, bleach is also good," said Dr. Jones.

According to the CDC, on average more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from the flu each year.