With flu season around the corner, your DC allergist has a few helpful tips for staying healthy and preventing an unplanned trip to the DC Allergist due to a common cold or the flu. Keep these simple points in mind to stay as healthy as you can throughout the upcoming winter months by taking charge of your health.
Get a Flu Shot
A flu shot is a very important component in the prevention of becoming infected with the influenza virus, the causative agent of the flu. The CDC recommends that everyone over the age of 6 months be given the flu vaccine. There are several types of vaccinations available including a “high dose” one, meant to be given to the elderly (ages 65 and above). There is also a preparation without the preservative thimerosal, which is used in most brands, for those who are either allergic to, or want to avoid this mercury-containing preservative. In addition, there is also a nasal preparation called “FluMist” that is available for individuals between the ages of 2 through 49, however this nasal preparation is a live vaccine and is not recommended for certain individuals who are immunocompromised (i.e., an immune system which is not at full capacity such as with some people on anti-cancer therapy, individuals with certain immunologic diseases, some patients with HIV, some pregnant individuals, etc.), as well as children and adolescents on aspirin therapy. People who generally feel ill should avoid the flu vaccination until they feel better. Individuals with egg allergies have historically been told to avoid the flu vaccination.
Recent research shows that it is fairly safe for most of these egg allergic people to get the flu vaccine, only if administered in an allergist’s office, and only if the patient waits in the office after the shot is given for 30-60 minutes, so that they can be closely monitored. If one is allergic to any of the other components of the flu vaccine, they should not be vaccinated. People who have had an allergic reaction or serious side effect from a previous flu vaccination should also not get future flu vaccinations. Individuals who have had Guillain-Barré Syndrome should also not get future influenza vaccinations. It is important to check with your primary care physician before receiving the flu vaccine to discuss which preparation, if any, is right for you. Despite the plethora of flu vaccinations and places where they are able to be given, every year many people fail to immunize themselves and as a result, end up severely ill with the flu and/or its complications. Before the season gets into full swing, your Washington, DC allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy recommend that you get a flu shot and take that important and most advantageous first step to avoid the flu this year.
Practice Meticulous Personal Hygiene
Another way to remain healthy this Winter is to stay as clean as you can by practicing good personal hygiene. Your DC allergist recommends that you strictly observe all the routine hygiene rituals such as washing your hands regularly, (especially before eating), not touching your mouth, nose, and/or eyes, showering, and brushing your teeth. Also, in order to help prevent the spread of infection, please keep some distance between yourself and others, as well as cover your face when sneezing and/or coughing.
Practice Good Health
By focusing on your overall health, your natural defenses will be maximized which may help you stay healthy and productive all season long. Remember to eat a well-balanced diet with fruits and vegetables. Get plenty of sleep each night, and exercise regularly. Call us to schedule an appointment if you develop any signs of complications from the flu such as sinus-related complaints, (e.g., sinus infection, sinus pain), an increase in your asthma symptoms, (e.g., wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness), persistent cough, etc. It is important to treat these complications expeditiously, so they do not continue to worsen. Taking these simple steps could make the difference between a miserable week of lying in bed, and a week of staying active and energetic.
When it comes down to it, remaining healthy is about taking the proper steps to prepare yourself, while giving your immune system the care it needs to remain strong. Now is the time to get ahead and start protecting yourself from the viruses lurking everywhere. Contact your local DC Allergy specialist today for more helpful information. The board certified allergists at Black & Kletz Allergy have been serving the Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland metropolitan area for more than 50 years. We treat both adults and children and have office locations in Washington, DC, McLean, VA (Tyson’s Corner, VA), and Manassas, VA. All 3 offices have on-site parking and the Washington, DC and McLean, VA offices are Metro accessible. There is a free shuttle that runs between our McLean office and the Spring Hill metro station on the silver line. Please call us for an appointment or you can alternatively click Request an Appointment and we will respond within 24 hours on the next business day.