Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu

February 5, 2018

Protecting Yourself and Our Community from the Flu

By Greg Gardiner

At Ashley Regional Medical Center, our mission is Making Communities Healthier. One way we do this is by engaging our communities and educating people about how they can maintain good health. Since flu season is in full swing, we want to help our community stay healthy and prevent the spread of this often debilitating illness. Here are a few things you can do to protect yourself from the flu, prevent it from spreading and speed up recovery, should you get sick. 

First, get vaccinated. This is the best form of protection against the virus. While it is still possible to contract the flu after receiving a vaccination, it is much less likely. Furthermore, studies have shown that flu vaccinations can make your illness milder, if you do get sick. This year, the CDC recommends that all individuals get the flu shot – not the nasal spray vaccination. 

Other important preventative measures you can take include:

- Washing your hands regularly with soap and water for 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol-based

- Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth

- Avoiding sharing food, cups or eating utensils

- Disinfecting your home and belongings, such as door knobs, light switches, children’s toys and play areas

- Staying home from school or work if you are sick to prevent the spread of germs

- Covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing with a tissue, your sleeve or elbow, and NOT your bare hands 

- Getting a flu shot

- Calling your local hospital or your primary care doctor with any questions

Ashley Regional Medical Center is taking the appropriate steps at our facility to prevent the flu from spreading. We are doing this by: 

- Providing masks to all visitors and patients experiencing flu-like symptoms 

- Setting up stations throughout the facility stocked with tissues and alcohol-based hand sanitizers

- Encouraging all patients, staff and visitors to get their flu shot if they have not already done 

- Limiting visitation to help limit the spread of infection

If you or a loved one begins to notice symptoms including coughing, sore throat, fever or upper respiratory symptoms, please see your doctor right away. Early detection is especially important for young children, elderly populations, pregnant women and people with certain chronic health issues. When detected early, prescription antiviral drugs can often help treat the illness and shorten the time you are sick by one or two days. 

In addition, limit contact with others as much as possible immediately after noticing symptoms. Stay home (or keep your child home) for at least 24 hours after the fever is gone, except to seek medical care or for other necessities.

For additional information about influenza, visit