Put your flu prevention plan into action

KENT, Wash. -- It's time to protect yourself from the flu.

"It's absolutely essential," said Dr. Dave Piatt, owner of the American Family Care urgent clinic in Kent. He says with few a few exceptions, "Anybody over the age of 6 months needs to be vaccinated."

Dr. Piatt said he's already seen a lot of sick people, but none yet with the flu.

"What I'm seeing a lot of right now; sore throats, not full blown tonsillitis, which have a tendency to be viral. We haven't quite hit our flu season yet. We're testing for it we just haven't gotten an actual positive yet," said Dr. Piatt.

The impact from the flu is still minimal across the country, according to the Centers for Disease Control, which also reports a delay in delivery of some of the vaccine.

So, after you're vaccinated it's time to be diligent with hand washing and keeping germs at bay.

And when it comes to germs, studies show that women's offices contain more than two times the germs as men's. Make-up cases, phones and purses typically carry the most bacteria. So do men's and women's wallets and cell phones, so all of these items should be wiped down regularly.

When cleaning surfaces, especially at the office, make sure you're using disposable wipes or paper towels with a disinfectant spray. Recent studies show 12 percent of surfaces that looked clean were contaminated, mainly because re-usable sponges or cleaning cloths were full of bacteria from a previous wipe up, according to American Family Care.

It also says that Clorox Healthcare Hydrogen Peroxide Disinfectant Spray has been proven better than other sprays to kill germs. That's important, since some viruses can live up to 48 hours on plastic and stainless steel surfaces.

It's suggested that you always carry and use a hand sanitizer and carry your own supply of pens, so you don't have to share with anyone.

If you do find yourself not feeling well, Dr. Piatt says take your temperature and if it's 100.5 or above, he says that's when you call in sick and go to the doctor to be tested. The test is a simple nasal swab and 15 minutes later you know if you've got the flu or not.

"The best thing is at the first sign of the flu get in as early as you can, because after 3 or 4 days the anti-flu medicine is not as effective," said Dr. Piatt.

His rule of thumb is to stay home about 5 days and dink lots of fluids.

"As we have a temperature we don't realize it but our body's not retaining fluids," said Dr. Piatt.

Tips now can really help for months to come, since we can see the flu well into May.

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