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Q: It’s officially flu season: Are you prepared?

Posted January 16, 2013 in Advice Column, Ankeny

A: This year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention have declared an early start to the flu season and warn that it may affect more people than in previous years. Medications can help ease flu symptoms, but protecting yourself from the flu is the only way to spare you and those around you from its agony.

One of the main challenges of flu control is that the virus is highly contagious. It is also a serious illness that can lead to hospitalization, and the virus can evolve, making preventive efforts difficult. To help prevent contracting the virus, be sure to wash your hands often. Refrain from touching your eyes, nose and mouth; these are easy pathways for microbes to enter your body. The CDC also recommends that you receive a vaccine every year, and avoid close contact with people who are ill. If you begin to feel ill or exhibit flu symptoms, such as fever, coughing, vomiting or other cold-like symptoms that seem to grow worse, see your physician immediately.

Unfortunately, even the best prevention methods are not fully guaranteed to prevent the flu. If you do become afflicted with the flu, be sure to take the medications your doctor prescribes and follow his or her directions carefully. Your weakened immune system may also allow oral bacteria to grow and multiply at a faster rate, increasing the risk to your oral health. Even when you feel bad, brush your teeth twice a day, after thoroughly washing your hands. Flossing can be accomplished more simply by keeping the dental thread close at hand, such as on a nightstand.

Making sure your oral health is in good shape now can improve your chances of protecting it, in case you become ill. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Erika Peddicord, call (515) 963-3339 today.

Information provided by Dr. Erika Peddicord, Peddicord Family Dentistry, 121 N.E. 18th St., Suite C, 963-3339.

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