Don’t InFLUence others
Avoiding the crud this cold and flu season can be as easy as 1-2-3.
- Get a flu shot.
- Wash your hands … A LOT.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes.
Sound simple? Surprisingly, many adults don’t do enough to stop the spread of germs. There are more than 200 different viruses that cause the common cold, and each new strain of the flu leads to more than 200,000 Americans being hospitalized each year. You can stop what’s going around by following these three simple steps.
Hit me with your best shot
Each year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 20 percent of the U.S. population will contract the flu. With only about 45 percent of people getting the vaccine, many Americans are unprotected, with a greater risk of spreading germs. A flu shot can reduce the chance of getting sick by 60 percent in adults and 74 percent in children. You are protecting yourself from illness, as well as those around you, such as young children, the elderly and people with chronic health conditions. The flu vaccine can also make your symptoms milder if you do get sick.
Clean hands, healthier you
Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds and help children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand gel or sanitizer. Viruses that cause colds can live on your hands, and regular hand-washing can help protect you from getting sick. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands. It’s also a good idea to disinfect areas you often touch at home, work and school.
Run for cover
Did you know that a single sneeze can spray 100,000 germs into the air? Gross. Don’t underestimate the power of a tissue. And throw away used tissues. Don’t have a tissue? Cough or sneeze into your upper arm or elbow area. Covering your mouth and nose during coughs and sneezes helps contain germs and protects others around you.
Stay home when you are sick. The more you limit your contact with others, the less chance you have of spreading germs. If you have a fever, you should stay at home and avoid people for at least 24 hours after your fever has ended. Let your body rest and recover before resuming your regular routine.