• Tips to keep you safe during flu season

    By: John Monahan


    Coughing and sneezing are signs you might be getting sick, and may want to avoid mixing at big social gathering like a Super Bowl party.

    "If you're sick with fever and a cough, you should not be attending a group function," Ari Cohen, chief of pediatric emergency medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said. "You're really putting your friends and loved ones at risk."

    >>MORE: Everything you need to know about the 2018-2019 flu season

    Cohn said that's especially true if very young children will be at the party.

    "The people most susceptible is going to be the less than 1-year-old kids, anyone that's immune-deficient, the elderly," Cohen said. 

    As a doctor for children, Cohen says the deaths of a 12-year-old boy and a 4-year-old girl from the flu is tragic.

    >>RELATED: Second child in Massachusetts dies from flu-related illness

    "Any death of a child, especially from a potentially preventable disease, is alarming," Cohen said.

    He said the best thing people can do to protect themselves and others is to get a flu shot.

    "Children over the age of six months should begin getting the vaccine," Cohen said. 

    He added fear of the flu should not make you avoid Super Bowl celebrations.

    "People should enjoy themselves, the flue is not a reason not to go out," Cohen said.

    >>MORE: 12-year-old from Milford dies from flu-related illness

    Cohen offered three tips to keep you safe during flu season, saying:

    • Avoid people who are sick
    • Especially avoid people with fever
    • Wash your hands frequently

    There's no guarantee anyone won't get sick, but if they do, a flu shot will help ease the symptoms. 

    "Even if it's not the perfect vaccine, the fact that you've gotten the vaccine, you are probably more protected than if you had not been," Cohen said.

    The flu season will last through March, so getting a shot will keep you better protected, bu won't work for Super Bowl Sunday.

    The vaccine takes about a week to begin doing its job.

    Next Up: