With cold and flu season fast approaching – don’t worry, we aren’t excited for it either – there’s no better time to start utilizing some easy steps to help you and your family prevent the flu and stay healthy all winter.

The first and most important step in preparing for flu season is getting your flu shot. It’s recommended that everyone over the age of 6 months gets the vaccine to help fight the virus.

Once you’re vaccinated there are additional ways to help keep those runny noses, fevers and aches and pains away.

First off, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Now, before the season is in full swing, is a great time to reinforce this lesson in your little ones and to remind yourself and others to do the same. The fewer germs spread, the better.

If you don’t have tissues on hand, make sure to wash your hands after you cough or sneeze. In fact, start washing your hands with warm water and soap frequently, especially before and after going out in public where germs are spread easily like the office, grocery store, schools and gyms.

Even if your hands are clean, don’t touch your eyes, mouth or nose. This is one of the easiest ways to pick up germs, so keep your hands away from your face.

Next, regularly wipe down any surfaces or objects that attract new germs every day. Think doorknobs, the kitchen counter, the bathroom sink, toys, etc. Stocking up on disinfectant wipes makes it quick and easy to keep the house germ-free.

This one isn’t always easy, but keep a safe distance from anyone with the flu. If you’re the caretaker, make sure to practice all the prevention steps outlined above.

Finally, if you or someone in your house comes down with the flu, stay home for 24 hours after the fever goes away. It’s better to help others avoid the flu than be the one who spreads it around.

While it’s hard to avoid germs completely, it’s easy to practice these tips to help prevent the flu from coming into your house this winter.

Don’t forget – the best way to prevent the flu is with the flu shot every year as soon as they vaccine is available. See your Meijer pharmacist for your shot, no appointment necessary and available during pharmacy hours.  And remember, your local Meijer pharmacy is always stocked full of tissues, cough drops, nasal sprays and other remedies you may need to get healthy, faster.

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