At HRSI, we work diligently to secure financial assistance for patients in need. However, the best form of help is preventative care, taking steps to keep patients out of healthcare facilities. Flu activity peaks during the month of February and can last as late as May.

Here are some tips to keep the flu on the shelf and yourself in good health.

The Flu Shot

A flu shot helps protect you from multiple flu viruses that are believed to be the most common during that particular flu season. The effectiveness of the shot depends on how closely the viruses in the vaccine match what’s in circulation.

Vaccines work by exposing your immune system to an inactive form of the flu virus. Your body builds up antibodies to the virus and protects you from getting the flu.

While getting a flu shot is a wise precautionary measure, there are no guarantees. Never assume you’re not at risk because you got a shot. In fact, the CDC reported flu shots were only 36% effective during the 2017-18 flu season.

Wash Your Hands with Soap Frequently

Washing your hands with soap and warm water or using a hand sanitizer eliminates cold germs you pick up throughout the day. Door knobs, hand rails, and office work spaces are breeding grounds for germs. Hands soaps and sanitizers can kill 99 percent of the bacteria that leads to infection.

Keep your Distance from Coughers, Sneezers

The flu virus can travel around in small droplets. A sneeze or cough can project those droplets up to three feet before they fall the ground. Make sure to keep your distance (more than three feet) from family members or colleagues who are under the weather.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Living healthy is a choice and can play a significant role in staying healthy. The proper amount of sleep, regular exercise, fluids, and a balanced diet keeps the body strong and resilient. The American Dietetic Association says eating healthy is a great way to boost your immunity and prevent the flu.

Keep Living and Work Spaces Clean

A bottle of disinfectant spay should always be within reach at home and at the office. During the winter months when colds are more prevalent, make sure counter tops, door handles, and work spaces are sprayed and wiped down multiple time each day. Don’t give those germs a chance to travel.

What Do I Do if I Get the Flu?

Despite your efforts, you may come down with the flu. Once that happens, shift your efforts to recovering and containing your germs so it’s not spread to colleagues or loved ones.

Here are 5 steps that need to be taken.

  1. Leave the public and stay home – You need to rest and you really shouldn’t be around other people when you’re flu-ridden. The CDC recommends that you stay home for a minimum of 24 hours. Sleep as much as possible to allow your body to rest and recover.
  2. Call your primary physician – Review your symptoms with your primary physician. They can provide helpful advice, but also determine if you need to make an appointment or pick up medicine.
  3. Assess and keep track of your symptoms – Each flu strain is different, so your symptoms and the severity of those symptoms can vary. One case of the flu may induce a lot of vomiting, while another causes no vomiting, but a high fever. Evaluate your symptoms early on so you can attack the illness quickly and shorten the term of illness.
  4. Drink plenty of fluids. Vomiting, nausea, and being bed-ridden makes you a candidate for dehydration. Drinking water and juice helps replace fluids lost from fever or respiratory tract evaporation.
  5. Attack the fever. Your body temperature may rise as high as 101 to 104 degrees and a flu fever can last three to five days. Over-the-counter medications containing acetaminophen will help reduce your fever, while ibuprofen can help with achiness. Reducing the fever should assist with recovery time and make the whole experience a little less miserable.

HRSI has been customizing solutions for healthcare providers and self-pay patients for more than 25 years. We are an industry leader in uncompensated healthcare reimbursement through our compassionate approach toward resolving matters in patient access and revenue cycle management.