- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
5 Tips To Prevent Catching the Flu
What is the Flu?
The flu, short for influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Symptoms range from mild to severe sickness, and even death in some situations.
Here are symptoms usually experienced when someone has the flu.
- Abrupt high fever
- Body aches
- Flushed Face
- Lack of energy
- Dry hacking cough
- Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Feeling sick
Now that you know the symptoms of the flu, here are 5 tips to avoid catching it.
1. Avoid Contact or Being Near Anyone with the Flu
Warning: Sometimes the infected person may have the flu and is not yet showing any symptoms. People can get infected about two days or so after exposure to the flu virus and not show any signs they have the flu. There is no coughing, runny noses, chills or other symptoms of the flu and the person may feel perfectly fine. In reality, he or she is already sick with the flu. Infected people remain contagious up to 5 days after they show symptoms. You may have a strong immune system; however, there is no need to take a chance of catching the flu by being around people who are already infected.
Have you been sick with the flu before?
Have you caught the flu from someone this flu season?
2. Stay Away from People Who May Have the Flu
One of the most common way to catch the flu is to breathe in the minute droplets that disperse when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes. If you are in a public place or even at home and you hear someone coughing, move as far away from that person as possible. The cough that he or she is spewing has lots of particles, some of which you could easily ingest. Hopefully people who are sick with the flu will heed the advice of medical professionals as well as good common sense and stay home from work and other places where people frequent.
3. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly to Avoid Catching the Flu
By simply washing your hands thoroughly, you are preventing picking up the germs that cause the flu. You have to wash your hands because flu germs can enter your body many different ways. One of the most common methods is by you simply touching your nose and/or mouth with your germ-infected hands.
Do not wash your hands quickly -- do a thorough job. You may be curious as to how long you should wash your hands. How long it takes you to sing or hum the Happy Birthday song (one verse) while you are washing your hands is a good time measurement. Once you have finished singing or humming this song you can rinse and dry your hands. Of course there are other ways to measure how long you wash your hands. The important takeaway on hand-washing is to do a thorough job.
Some people may prefer to use hand sanitizer instead of soap and water to wash their hands. Just remember when doing so, hand sanitizer can be drying so sometimes its best to use soap and water to wash your hands.
If you are in a public place, for example, a grocery store, and you use the same cart that someone with the flu has just used, the germs left on the handle of the cart has now transferred to your hands. This is not a problem until you rub your eyes, nose or mouth, and the virus finds a way to enter your body! To avoid getting infected, use the wipes many stores have available for this use.
4. Refrain from Using Public Restrooms
Public restrooms put you in close quarters with strange people, some of whom may be coughing and sneezing, sick with the flu virus. When using public restrooms, you do not know who was in the stall before you; however, so use precaution when using public restrooms. If a coughing person leaves a stall, you have the option of not using the same one.
The caveat to this strategy is if no one is in the public restroom when you enter, you have no idea who was in there just before you, and what germs they left behind. That's why it is important to wash your hands, and after washing, use a towel to open the restroom door, or another part of your body, other than your bare hands.
5. Get a Flu Shot
Many drugstores, supermarkets and other places administer flu shots. Just be aware that a needle is involved and some people are afraid of or do not like the idea of being punctured by a needle. Remember, the shot is necessary to keep you from getting the flu and in a short time you may not even remember the needle prick to your skin.