- Personal Health Information & Self-Help
How to Avoid Preventing this Flu Influenza During his Winter While in Crowds!
Unfortunately, flu season is upon us. I've been seeing lots of displays in drug-stores and elsewhere encouraging and urging everyone to get their flu shot.
Interesting enough, I will not be discussing flu shots. Instead, I will be discussing other ways that you can avoid catching the flu this winter, and many winters to come.
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 I'm sad to say, even death -- in very catastrophic circumstances.
Knock on wood -- I have not experienced the flu in quite some time now. The last I recall when I may have had the flu was many, many years back, when I had to leave work because I was feeling trembly all over, and I think I had a fever. It's been so long ago, I'm not sure of the symptoms, and it may not have been the flu at all. I do know that I had to leave work early -- where I should not have been in the first place!
Here are some flu symptoms:
- An abrupt high fever
- Body aches
- Flushed Face
- Lack of energy
- Dry hacking cough
- Nasal discharge
- Sore throat
- Feeling sick
How to avoid the Flu
The best cure for flu is to, of course, avoid contact with anyone with this highly contagious disease. The scary part of this advice is sometimes the person may have the flu and is not yet showing any symptoms. The infected person is still contagious during and up to 5 days after they are showing symptoms.
That being said, there are many ways to avoid catching the flu, or to lower your chances of catching the flu.
Wash Your Hands to avoid the Flu
I may be preaching to the choir, but you should not be surprised that just by simply washing your hands, you are preventing picking up the germs that cause the flu. Washing your hands does not mean letting water run over them, and then maybe add a dab of soap, then rinse and dry. No.... you have to thoroughly wash your hands! How long? You should sing or hum the Happy Birthday song (1 verse) while you are washing your hands. Once you are finished singing or humming (if you prefer), you can start rinsing and drying your hands.
Why do you have to wash your hands to avoid 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.
If you are in a public place, lets say 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!
Stay away from sick people who may have the flu
Did you know that the most common way of catching the flu is by breathing in the minute droplets when someone with the virus coughs or sneezes? Well, now you know it's true!
If you are in a public place, including your work place, and you hear someone coughing a lot (sometimes without covering their mouth), move as far away from that person as possible. The cough that he or she is spewing has lots of particles, some of which could easily be ingested by you breathing in these germ laden air particles.
Hopefully sick people will heed the advice of medical professionals, as well as the use of good common sense which strongly advise them to stay home when they are ill with the flu. Don't worry, your work will certainly be there when you return. I can vouch for that!
Avoid crowds to avoid the flu.
During flu season, why would you pick this time to hang out where there are crowds of people, some who may already have the flu, even without fully realizing that they have it yet. So decrease your odds of catching the flu by staying away from crowds.
If avoiding crowds is not possible, then remember to follow my hand-washing instructions. Also in this case, you might want to have a small container of hand sanitizer to carry you through until you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
Ok to use sanitizer to avoid the flu?
Personally, I prefer soap and water to wash my hands. I've used sanitizer before, but they tend to be a little drying, and I do not get the clean feeling that I experience from thoroughly washing my hands.
But you may use hand sanitizer, such as in the situation described above, or wherever you may be where you do not have soap and water readily available to you.
What about using public restrooms during the flu season?
I stay away from public restrooms as much as possible with the exception of maybe one located in a clean McDonalds or a clean movie theatre. But even in a clean public restroom, you must be on the alert for flu germs.
Restrooms with multiple stalls put you are in close quarters with strange people, some of whom are not as courteous as they should be, especially when they are coughing and sneezing all over the place!
If I'm lucky enough to walk into a restroom and hear someone in the stalls or even at the sink, coughing, sneezing, and blowing their noses, I'm very careful not to use the same stall they used, or be in the same space that they occupy. I try not to breathe in their same air, and wash my hands relentlessly.
The limitation in this strategy is if no one is in the public restroom when you enter, you have no idea who was in their just before you, and what germs they left behind. That's why it is so 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.
Regarding public restrooms, if you can, during the flu season, try not to use them at all. But I know this is not always possible, so please be sure to follow my advice here to avoid catching the flu in the first place.
I ain't scared of no flu!
Good for you! I'm guessing that you wash your hands regularly, stay away from sick people and crowds, are relatively healthy, get a lot of exercise, don't smoke, go out often to get fresh air, and are not in the core group of people more prone to catch the flu such as the elderly, children, or a person with health conditions. Keep up the good work!
If the above does not fit you, then it's time to start making changes health-wise so you can fight against flu germs.
With the winter wonderland coming our way soon, be ready to enjoy its beauty, living in your healthy, flu-free body. I certainly will, and I look forward to you joining me!