Health

The Flu Is on Santa’s Naughty List

Santa with a young girl

For many people, the holiday season is an exciting time to give gifts and spend treasured time with friends, family and coworkers.

While it is a joyful time of year, it also comes at the height of flu and cold season. The one thing you do not want to give is the flu. That is why promoting good health for everyone is important.

The County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency is reminding everyone to stay healthy to protect themselves and the people they are in contact with daily.

“The flu, colds and other illnesses make lousy holiday gifts,” said Wilma Wooten, M.D., M.P.H., County public health office. “Instead, give yourself and others the gift of health.”

older woman getting a vaccination

Follow these simple steps to help assure a cold and flu-free holiday season:

  • Get the flu vaccine this season if you haven’t already—it’s not too late. The flu can make you very sick, and it is spread easily.
  • Wash your hands frequently. This helps prevent the spread of germs. (You can use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available; make sure it has at least 60% alcohol.)
  • For the professions where gloves are required and in contact with the public, make sure that gloves are cleaned and changed appropriately. Gloves can be havens for bacteria, viruses and other unpleasant things.
  • Ensure that play areas and toys are cleaned and sanitized regularly and between uses, where children gather.
  • Stay away from people who are sick, whenever possible.
  • If you’re sick, stay home. You want to spread holiday cheer, not the flu.
  • Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or your arm.
  • Eat a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Get enough sleep.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months and older get a flu shot every year. It takes about two weeks for immunity to develop.

The flu vaccine is available at doctors’ offices and retail pharmacies. If you don’t have medical insurance, you can go to a County public health center to get vaccinated. For a list of locations, visit www.sdiz.org or call 211 San Diego.

José A. Álvarez is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact