The holiday season is known as a time for giving. We give gifts, kindness, and love. What we also share with others is the flu. While getting a flu vaccine is the best way to guard against the flu, there are also other steps you can take for flu prevention.
Why Flu Prevention is Important
The flu is a contagious respiratory virus that easily spreads from person to person. The illness ranges in severity and can include some or all of the following symptoms: fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, diarrhea, and vomiting. In extreme cases, the flu can lead to hospitalization or even death.
5 Flu Prevention Tactics
Here are 5 tactics you can use to aid in flu prevention.
Wash your hands
According to the CDC, the flu virus is spread by small droplets of saliva that are passed via coughing, sneezing, or talking. The tiny droplets then make their way to your mouth, ears, or nose via airborne particles or touching a contaminated surface.
Washing your hands is perhaps one of the easiest flu prevention tactics that you can use. Wash your hands when returning home, after using the restroom, and any other time you may come into contact with a shared surface such as a door knob or fridge handle. The CDC has some great tips on how and when to properly wash your hands. An alcohol based hand sanitizer is a good alternative when you do not have access to soap and water.
Avoid close contact
Because the flu virus is spread person-to-person, coming into close contact with someone through a hug or handshake, for example, can greatly increase your odds of contracting the flu virus from an infected person. The best thing to do is to avoid these situations as best you can. If you ca not avoid contact, be sure to wash your hands as soon as possible. Also avoid touching your mouth, ears, and nose as this is the easiest way for the virus to enter your body.
Cover your mouth.
While not a flu prevention tactic once you have the illness, you can help others to stay healthy by covering your mouth with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. Another option that may help protect you from the flu virus is wearing a medical face mask over your mouth and nose when out in public places.
When you have the flu, it is important that you get the necessary rest your body requires. This means that you should stay home when you are sick and make an effort to get the rest you need. Staying home will also ensure that you do not spread the flu to others.
Be cognizant of shared areas and surfaces
Another way to prevent the flu is to limit your exposure to shared surfaces such as door knobs and faucet handles. While it’s unavoidable to touch these surfaces, it does help to be aware of them and to not touch your hands to your face once you have touched these shared surfaces.
It is also helpful to disinfect these common surfaces regularly with bleach wipes or vinegar mixed with water as a chemical-free alternative.
Bonus Tactic for Flu Prevention – Get your flu shot
Although controversial, the medical community as a whole recommends that all people get there flu shot, especially the high risk populations – children, seniors, and those with weakened immune systems.
An Ounce of Prevention, Flu Prevention That Is
Following these 5 simple steps in flu prevention can be instrumental in keeping you and your family healthy. At Senior LIFE, we know the detrimental effects that the flu can have on senior citizens and their families.
Our staff is trained to recognize changes in condition and, if one of our members comes down with the flu or other illness, we adjust their care plan accordingly.
Categories: Wellness Matters