How to Prevent the Flu and Upper Respiratory Infections

how to prevent the flu

‘Tis the season for the flu and upper respiratory infections – and is it a pretty big one. As our doctors at Hospitality Health ER in Tyler and Longview are busy making their rounds this winter, so is the flu and upper respiratory infections. We’re seeing a lot of members of the community suffering from fever, congestion, sore throat, and overall discomfort. Thankfully, it’s HHER’s mission to have patients feeling better as soon as possible. We even provide special accommodations during your visit to help prevent the spread of infection to your family members. In the meantime, here are some tips on how to prevent the flu and URIs – or at least your best shot against it.

Doc’s Advice on How to Prevent the Flu & Treat URIs

What Should I Know About This Season’s Flu?

Although flu season happens every year, some seasons are worse than others. This year, the flu is definitely out and about. And although the flu shot hasn’t prevented some people from getting the flu this season, those who got the flu shot are generally experiencing less severe symptoms.

What Can I Do to Prevent Getting or Spreading the Flu?

The flu is most likely to spread in enclosed spaces where people are close to each other, like in schools and homes. If you’re wondering how to prevent the flu this season, here’s where you can start.

#1. Flu Shot: We encourage parents to consider getting the flu shot for themselves and their kids, especially after seeing the evidence of lower flu-related mortality in children. In fact, by getting the flu shot, you’re also helping prevent the spread to those who cannot get a flu shot like babies and elderly folks.

#2. Hand Hygiene: Get into the habit of washing your hands to lessen the likelihood of catching germs or spreading them to someone else, especially around people with weaker immune systems, like very young children and the elderly.

#3. Eating and Drinking: Take vitamins and eat fruits high in Vitamin C to power up your immune system. Exercising is also good for fighting off the flu and other infections. Of course, don’t share drinks or eat off someone’s plate if you know they have the flu or just had the flu.

What Home Remedies Help for Upper Respiratory Infections?

Steamy bathroom/humidifier: When you or your child is congested, shut the door to your bathroom and let the hot water run to steam it up. Sit in there for about 20 minutes. This helps when your child is up at night because they can’t breathe. You can also try dropping some peppermint oil into a humidifier to help relieve a stuffy nose or chest pain.

Saline Drops and Snotsuckers: To clear up your child’s stuffy nose, you can purchase saline spray and a snotsucker (nasal aspirator) from your pharmacy.

When Should I See a Doctor?

If you are not peeing as much, having trouble breathing, or have a headache or fever that won’t go away, you should see a doctor. If it hurts to drink, you may also want to seek medical attention to prevent dehydration. Complications of the flu or an upper respiratory infection can lead to pneumonia, respiratory intubation, or a lengthy hospital stay.

To learn more about the flu vaccine, read our blog about preparing for flu season or how a good mood can make your shot more effective.