The flu virus is an unwelcome houseguest that would love nothing more than to take up residence and make your life—and the lives of everyone in your home—absolutely miserable. Kick the flu to the curb with these helpful tips. And if you need a visually stimulating reminder, print out our handy infographic.
Get a Flu Shot.
The best defense is a good offense, and the flu vaccine is your best shot (pardon the pun). Once you are vaccinated, your immune system takes a couple of weeks to create a defensive line that rivals even the Seattle Seahawks. While it works most effectively in the months following the vaccination, it will decline over time. This, and the ever-evolving flu virus, is why the CDC suggests updating your flu shot annually for the best protection.
The flu shot has been shown to reduce flu-related hospitalizations by over 71%, especially when the vaccine and the circulating strains are a close match. It may not save you from getting sick, however, which is why this list keeps going.
Wash Those Hands.
There’s no substitute for good hygiene. Wash your hands often and regularly using soap and water or alcohol-based sanitizer if soap isn’t available. It’s not a big deal if you touch a germy pen or doorknob; the real issue is when you touch your eyes, nose or mouth and give those germs an open invitation. One study found hand washing can reduce the chances of catching a respiratory illness by more than 20%. Make it a habit to wash your hands after a bathroom break, before you eat, after being in public places, or after being in someone’s cough or sneeze radius. Also, now’s a great time to stop biting your nails.
Wear a Mask.
Okay, we know this isn’t always possible or fashion forward, but if you’re entering a high-risk environment (a pharmacy, a doctor’s office, or a hospital), a mask is a great way to stop the flu virus at the front door. Remember, the flu is an airborne virus that can travel as far as 10 feet and can settle on a variety of surfaces.
Stop the madness.
If the flu moves in, despite all of your precautions, do everyone a favor and stay home or wear that fabulous mask while you are out and about. Consider this your way of paying it forward. This means if you get saddled with a fever, cough, runny nose, sore throat, muscle aches, and exhaustion, your best place is in bed. Monitor your symptoms carefully so if you need to call your doc, you’ll have a good idea of how the illness is progressing.
If you’ve been reading our blog, you know that germs can lurk in surprising places. When illness strikes, it’s time for a deep cleaning. This means new toothbrushes, hot-laundered linens, disinfected doorknobs and surfaces, and a down-and-dirty scrubbing. If you don’t have the energy or the time to give your house the disinfecting it deserves, you are in luck—we know just the folks to do it.