Flu season do’s and don’ts

Flu season is here. Peak months are December through February. Here are some tips from the Center for Disease Control on how to stay healthy this winter:

Do: Get a flu shot.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu vaccine every season, especially people who are in high-risk groups such as those who are pregnant, very young or over 65.

Don’t: Spread misconceptions.

Flu vaccines do not give you the flu. Some people may experience a reaction to the flu shot like soreness, a low-grade fever and muscle aches, but these side effects are not the flu and will be gone in one to two days, according to the CDC.

Do: Wash your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs, the CDC says. (You can use an alcohol-based hand rub if soap and water are not available). Washing hands can help save lives.

Don’t: Have close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and do not eat or drink from another person’s cup, glass, plate or utensil.

Do: Stay hydrated.

Drinking plenty of water, both when you’re healthy and when you’re sick, can help your body stay healthy or recover faster.

Don’t: Pull an all-nighter.

Getting a good night’s sleep is crucial for staying healthy and fighting off illness, health experts say. So don’t stay up too late to get that project done. Get some rest and finish it another day.

Do: Clean frequently touched objects.

Door knobs, computer keyboards, phones should be cleaned regularly to help kill and prevent the spread of germs, the CDC recommends.

Don’t: Touch your eyes, nose, mouth.

You should avoid touching your face as this can help spread germs. If you have touched something contaminated with germs and then touch your eyes, nose or mouth, it can increase the likelihood of you getting sick, according to the CDC.

Do: Talk to your doctor.

If you do get sick, and especially if you are in a high-risk group, you should check with your doctor promptly on how to best treat your symptoms, the CDC recommends. Antiviral drugs may be a treatment option to relieve some of the worst symptoms.

Don’t: Go to work when you are sick.

The CDC recommends that you do not go to work, school or out to run errands when you are sick as you can then spread your illness to others.

Flying firs

It’s deck the halls, not deck the roads with boughs of holly. That’s a warning from AAA Northeast against improperly secured Christmas trees becoming roadway hazards when they make the trip home on the top of a car.

A new AAA survey has found 44 percent of Americans who plan to purchase a live Christmas tree this year will use unsafe methods to bring it home.

Ideally, trees should be placed in the bed of a pickup truck, in an SUV or on a vehicle roof rack.

It being brought home on top of a car, use quality tie downs such as strong rope, twine or nylon ratchet straps. Wrap the tree in netting, a blanket or a tarp to make sure no loose limbs impede the driver’s vision or injure car occupants.

Position the tree’s trunk toward the front of the vehicle on the roof rack or the pickup bed. If the rack isn’t large enough, the tree will have to go inside the car, again trunk first. Use rope to secure the hatch or trunk.

If it has to go on top, secure the tree at its bottom, center and top. To prevent side-to-side or front-to-rear movement, secure the tree using the fixed vehicle tie-down points. Give it a good tug to make sure it’s secure.

Reduce speed and be smooth with steering, accelerating and braking. Higher speeds create significant airflow that can damage the tree and compromise the best tie-down methods.