Achoo! Protect yourself, family from seasonal flu

Published 6:03 pm Wednesday, January 24, 2018

It seems colds and flu follow the calendar. As soon as we turn the page on the new year, colds and flu follow.

It is important to take precautions to keep your immune system at its best and decrease your chance of getting sick this season.

Here is some information that will give you a head start on decreasing your chance of getting the flu as well as preventing the spread of the flu for you and your family.

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— Is it the flu or is it a cold? The flu is a highly-contagious respiratory illness caused by the influenza virus.

The common cold is also caused by a virus and is also contagious.

Although symptoms are somewhat similar, the flu has much more severe symptoms than a cold, generally lasts longer, and can lead to complications such as pneumonia.

— What are the signs and symptoms of the flu? They include a high fever (generally over 101 degrees), severe body aches, extreme tiredness and a dry cough.

Cold symptoms include mild fever (generally 100 degrees or less), some mild body aches and a runny nose and loose cough.

If you suspect you have the flu instead of a cold, it is important to see your health care provider who can perform a test to determine if you have the flu.

— How can you protect yourself and your family from the flu? One of the best preventions is to get the flu vaccine.

Other measures you can take to keep your family healthy this flu season include getting an adequate amount of sleep, eat a healthy diet, participate in physical activity (at least 30 minutes every day), try to reduce stress in your life, use good hand washing techniques, cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoid close contact with those who may have the flu, and stay home from work or school if you have the flu.

For more information on health tips for the family, contact the Clark County Extension Office at 744-4682 or visit us on the web at

Jennifer Howard is the Clark County Extension agent for family and consumer sciences.