No one wants to get sick with the flu. Flu is a respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It infects the nose and the throat and could also infect the lungs. It is highly contagious and can cause mild to severe illness, which can lead to death in extreme cases.
According to a 2018 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study, around 8% of the US population gets sick from influenza each year during the flu season. It is essential to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself and your family from being infected by nasty viruses. Here are simple tips to keep a healthy home this flu season.
Get a flu shot.
Getting vaccinated is your first defense against the flu, according to health experts. There are specific types of flu shots, depending on the age and health condition of each person. It is recommended to schedule your family’s flu vaccinations early, even before the flu season starts, but it is never too late to get vaccinated. Many local pharmacies now administer flu shots even without a prior appointment. Some people may experience side effects from the vaccine, such as soreness at the site of injection, headache, or fever. Still, they are usually mild, and they typically go away within a couple of days.
Always wash your hands properly.
Influenza viruses can live up to 8 hours on hard surfaces, and it is easy to pick up without being aware of it. Proper handwashing is crucial to avoid catching viruses and getting infected. Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds to kill these viruses. Use hand sanitizers with at least 70% alcohol if your hands are dirty, but handwashing is not possible at the moment. It is often said that “clean hands save lives.”
It is believed that flu viruses mainly spread through microscopic droplets produced when people with flu sneeze, cough, or talk. These droplets can land on surfaces and can live for many hours. A person might get infected by unknowingly touching an object or a surface that has been contaminated by droplets carrying the flu virus and then touching his/her mouth, nose, or eyes. Disinfect surfaces and items that your family touches every day, like light switches, doorknobs, handles, desks, and other hot spots regularly. Wipe surfaces with disinfectants and wash commonly-touched items with soap and water, if possible, to kill germs, bacteria, and viruses.
Observe coughing and sneezing etiquette.
To prevent the spread of viruses through droplets, cover your mouth and nose using a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If a tissue is not immediately available, use the crook of your arm to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. Throw the used tissue right away and wash your hands immediately after.
Maintain healthy habits.
Boost your immune system and stay healthy by practicing basic habits that will help you fight sickness and keep a flu-free home.
- Eat healthy food.
- Drink lots of fluid.
- Get enough sleep/rest.
- Manage your stress.
- Be physically active.
- Make sure your home is always clean and has an adequate supply of soap, tissues, and other sanitation products.
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