Monday, January 8, 2018

Avoiding the Flu When Away From Home

Influenza, often nicknamed "the flu", is a viral disease that can have mild symptoms such as sniffles, sore throat and feeling tired, or it can develop into severe complications such as viral pneumonia and heart failure.

The 2017-2018 flu season has seen a worrisome spread of this illness. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) publishes a weekly report on the spread of influenza in the United States. The World Health Organisation (WHO) also monitors the spread of influenza across the world.

What can YOU do to protect yourself and loved ones?

The CDC shares three key things you can do.

First, get vaccinated. The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months and older should get vaccinated every year (with some rare exceptions). Again, if you can, GET VACCINATED.

Second, the following actions will help you to stop the spread of germs:
  • Wash your hands! Always wash your hands after using the restroom; after sneezing or coughing or blowing your nose; and before and after eating. Wash your hands after touching surfaces touched by other people, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, cart handles, counter tops. Wash hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds before rinsing.
  • Carry tissues and hand sanitizer. Use the tissues to cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough, then immediately dispose of the used tissue. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) when you can’t wash your hands. Offer to share the sanitizer with others.
  • Don’t touch your face. If you do have flu germs on your hands, they are easily transferred through your eyes, nose and mouth into your body.
  • Don’t share items such as phones and computer keyboards with others. Disinfect hard surfaces after others have touched them.
  • Stay away from people with symptoms. And do others a favor and stay home when you are ill.

Third, if your doctor prescribes them, take antiviral drugs. The sooner they are taken, the better. Those at high risk for flu complications like pneumonia especially are encouraged to stay in contact with their doctors if they become ill.

While anyone can get the flu, young children and adults over age 65 are considered vulnerable. A little common sense and use of preventive measures will help to lower the risk for yourself and everyone around you.

Images source: Pixabay, keyword "flu"

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