5 Tips To Prevent Catching the Flu
This article deals exclusively with tips to prevent catching the flu virus. COVID-19 is mentioned in this article; however, I am not in any way comparing COVID-19 to the flu virus itself.
What is the Flu?
The flu, short for influenza, is a highly contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. Prognoses range from mild to severe sickness, and unfortunately, even death in some situations.
Here are symptoms usually experienced by someone who has the flu.
- Abrupt high fever
- Body aches
- Sore Throat
- Flushed Face
- Lack of energy
- Dry hacking cough
- Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Feeling sick
Follow the tips below to avoid catching the flu.
1. Avoid Contact or Being Near Anyone with the Flu
In these days of social distancing due to the COVID-19 virus, you are probably already practicing wearing masks and staying away from other people. Warning: Similar to someone who has contracted COVID-19, sometimes the infected person may be asymptomanic and not show symptoms of having the flu.
Additionally, people can get infected about two days or so after exposure and not show any signs of the flu. They do not experience coughing, runny noses, chills or other symptoms of the flu virus. In fact, the infected person may feel perfectly fine. In reality, sadly he or she may already be sick with the flu.
To add fuel to the fire, people with the flu remain contagious up to 5 days after they show symptoms. To be on the safe side, just stay away from others as much as possible during the flu season since you really do not know who is infected with this highly contagious flu virus.
Have you been sick with the flu before?
Have you caught the flu from someone this flu season?
2. Stay Home or Away from Work If You Have The Flu
One of the most common ways 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 see or 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.
Due to the recommendation/mandate in some states to wear masks due to COVID-19, you and others are hopefully being protected as much as possible from catching the flu virus. When you wear a mask, you are protecting others from catching the virus and they in turn are protecting you.
Most importantly, people who are sick with the flu need to heed the advice of medical professionals as well as use their good common sense and stay home or away from work and other places to prevent spreading the flu virus.
3. Wash Your Hands Thoroughly to Avoid Catching the Flu
By simply washing your hands thoroughly, you can avoid catching the flu virus. Flu germs can enter your body in many different ways. One of the most common methods is when you touch your nose and/or mouth with your virus-infected hands -- after being in contact or near someone who has the flu.
One of the guidelines to avoid catching COVID-19 is to wash your hands thoroughly and often for at least 20 seconds, or use a hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol if you cannot wash your hands. This practice also holds true to prevent catching the flu.
Sing or hum the Happy Birthday song (one verse) as a good time measurement when washing your hands. 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 and do not rush doing so.
If you are in a public place, for example, a grocery store, and you use the same cart that was used by someone with the flu, 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 with your hand, and the virus finds a way to enter your body.
To avoid getting infected with the flu virus, use the disinfectant wipes many stores have available. In this COVID-19 environment, many stores are having their employees wipe down carts, self-service screens, etc. for you; however, I recommend that you use your own wipes if possible to perform this cleaning.
4. Refrain from Using Public Restrooms
Public restrooms put you in close quarters with strange people, some who may be coughing and sneezing, sick with the flu virus. Or some people, as I mentioned previously, may not show any symptoms at all. Therefore you must be extra careful when using public restrooms. If a coughing person leaves a stall, definitely choose to use another stall if available.
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. After washing your hands, use a paper towel to open the restroom door, or another part of your body, other than your freshly cleaned bare hands.
5. Get a Flu Shot
Many drugstores, supermarkets, doctor offices and other places administer flu shots. I recommend that you get a flu shot unless you have medical reasons not to do so. 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 help you avoid catching the flu and after a short while, you may even forget the pain from the needle prick to your skin.