The flu has resulted in 9.3 million to 49 million cases in the United States since 2010. It is estimated that the flu results in more than 200,000 hospitalizations each year. A contagious respiratory illness caused by viruses, this disease spreads from person to person and people are most contagious between three to four days after their illness begins. It is because of this that it’s important to take particular care to do your part in preventing the spread of this disease. The 2017 – 2018 flu season was one of the deadliest seasons in decades, that’s why it’s so crucial that you take these steps to prevent the flu.
1. Keep Your Hands Away From Your Face
To avoid the flu, keep your hands away from your face. Resist the urge to rub your eyes, bite your nails, pick your nose… The nasal and oral passages are the main way to get viruses into your system. Touching your face is a habit for many people and it’s so important to break these habits in order to prevent the spread of germs. Put sticky notes around your space to make for a quick and easy reminder… remind your children not to touch their faces either by gently talking to them about the spread of germs during cold and flu season.
2. Clean Communal Surfaces Once A Day
Clean any communal surfaces at least once a day throughout flu season. Areas that are frequently touched at home, work, or school should be disinfected, especially if someone around you is ill. Sanitizing your space can remove, kill, and lower the number of germs in your area, which can lower your risk of spreading infection. Beware of doorknobs, desks and countertops, computer keyboards, phones, and faucets. If objects are visibly soiled, take care to clean these spaces immediately. Similarly, pay close attention to the directions for proper disinfection.
3. Don’t Skimp on Sleep
There is growing evidence that sleep maintains both long and short term health. With that said, sleep deprivation can result in adverse effects and opens the door to illnesses and lowered defense from diseases. “Sleep deprivation has an adverse effect on immune function, and chronic sleep loss can increase an individual’s vulnerability to infectious diseases.” Based on this, it’s clear that skimping on sleep can put you at a higher risk for catching colds, coughs, and the flu. Make sure that you have a set sleep and wake time in order to ensure that you’re falling into a deep enough sleep. Deep sleep strengthens your immune system!
4. Wash Your Hands
Washing your hands often is a surefire way to protect yourself and your loved ones from getting sick. Plus, washing your hands only takes five easy steps. Wet your hands with clean running water and lather your hands together with soap; next, scrub your hands for 20 seconds (or as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday); then, rinse your hands under clean water; lastly, dry your hands with a clean towel – or air dry them.
Make sure you wash your hands before, during and after preparing food, before and after using the restroom, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing, and after touching garbage. By washing your hands, you’re effectively reducing the spread of germs and illness. When you can’t use soap and water, make sure that you at least use a hand sanitizer that uses at least 60% alcohol.
5. Get Your Flu Shot
Getting your flu shot is the best thing you can do to protect yourself from the flu. This vaccine has saved thousands of lives. From reducing the risk of flu illnesses, hospitalizations, and flu-related death, the flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop in the body about two weeks after vaccination that provides protection against the infection.
According to the CDC, everyone six months of age and older should get an influenza vaccine every season with a few rare exceptions. The risk of catching the flu is particularly high for those ages 65 and older, pregnant women, people with asthma, heart disease and stroke, diabetes, HIV or AIDS, cancer, and children with or without neurologic conditions.
Getting the flu shot is the best way to prevent the flu. Still, reducing the spread of germs is a surefire way to reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths that could occur during this flu season. Have you scheduled your flu shot this season? Contact Abba Medical Transportation!