The Flu That Stole Christmas

How to keep the Grinch away and stay healthy this holiday season

December 23, 2015
By Charles (Chip) Altman MD, MBA
Santa with a cold
While Dr. Seuss’ Grinch crept into the Whos’ houses and stole all the roast beast and presents, the flu is just as sinister, and can do an even better job of ruining your holiday season.

Spreading the flu throughout Whoville would surely have put many of the Whos in bed, rather than singing happily in the town square. The flu thrives when temperatures drop and winter coats are brought out. Cooler air, lower humidity, and staying indoors are ideal conditions for flu transmission.

Along with colder weather, the flu loves to travel and with many embarking on planes and trains to see loved ones, the flu will gladly hop along for the ride. To help ensure your holiday isn’t stolen by the flu, here are some flu tips to help you and your family stay healthy:

    • The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones this holiday season is to get your annual flu vaccination. The flu shot helps protect you as well as those around you; click here for a list of those at high-risk of developing serious flu-related complications. No doubt you’ll come into contact with many people who fall into these high-risk categories during the holidays!
    • This may be easier said than done, but try to stay away from those who are sick! And if you are the one who is sick, please stay home so you can prevent others from getting sick too.
Cooler air, lower humidity, and staying indoors are ideal conditions for flu transmission.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water. (Sing the happy birthday song twice to know you’ve washed long enough.) This helps protect you against picking up and spreading germs. And if you are always on the go this holiday season, make sure you pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer to use.
  • Keep your hands to yourself! The flu virus loves to remain on surfaces you touch and you can catch it by rubbing your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth, make sure you wash your hands first and afterward!
  • Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing – this makes it harder to spread the flu to others. Plus, it’s just good manners, especially at holiday buffets.
  • Take care of yourself by reducing stress, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, drinking enough water (eggnog doesn’t count), and exercising this holiday season. All of these habits (in addition to getting a flu shot) will help stop the spread of flu germs!

So, don’t let the flu steal your holiday season! Use these tips to stay well and make the most of well-deserved time to relax with family and friends.

Chip Altman
Charles (Chip) Altman, MD, MBA is US Head of Medical Affairs at Seqirus

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