This yr’s flu season has been a nasty one and it’s not over but. Opposite to fashionable perception, the flu season in the USA can final as late as Could.
When you or somebody has come down with the flu, you’re in all probability conscious that the virus has been notably harsh this yr because of its widespread and intense exercise.
In keeping with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), a cumulative fee of 86.three influenza-associated hospitalizations per 100,000 folks was reported between Feb. 25 and March three, 2018 (1).
Don’t assume it’s too late to get the flu. It is best to nonetheless take crucial precautions to forestall it. Earlier than studying concerning the preventive suggestions, it is very important perceive the flu itself.
The flu is a respiratory sickness attributable to flu viruses. Flu viruses are categorised into three teams: A, B and C. Influenza A and B are the most typical and are answerable for the annual seasonal flu in addition to the occasional pandemics linked to new strains and subtypes. This yr’s influenza variant, Sort A, subtype H3N2, is especially nasty
Signs of the flu embrace a fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nostril, muscle or physique aches, complications and fatigue. Some folks might have vomiting and diarrhea, although that is extra frequent in younger kids than adults.
Hundreds of thousands of Individuals endure from such signs throughout flu season, in accordance with the Nationwide Institute of Allergy and Infectious Illnesses (2). Whereas the signs could also be just like these of the frequent chilly, they’re normally extra extreme with the flu.
Flu viruses unfold primarily by tiny droplets that journey by means of the air when individuals who have the flu cough, sneeze or speak. The flu spreads rapidly and is very contagious.
Regardless of the kind of viruses that trigger influenza, there are a number of preventive measures that may defend you and your loved ones from the flu.
Listed below are a number of the methods to guard your self from the flu.
1. Get Vaccinated
Getting the flu vaccination is the most effective and simplest method to keep away from the flu in addition to reduce the severity of the sickness when you turn out to be contaminated.
The flu vaccine causes antibodies to develop within the physique about a few weeks after being vaccinated. These antibodies present safety in opposition to the viruses which can be within the vaccine.
Ideally, it is best to get vaccinated earlier than the flu season begins. However consultants say it is best to nonetheless get vaccinated so long as flu viruses are circulating.
The CDC recommends that everybody above the age of 6 months get a flu vaccination (three).
The Meals and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends three predominant forms of flu vaccinations for the next folks (four):
- Normal flu shot for anybody above 6 months.
- Intradermal flu shot for adults aged 18 to 64.
- Excessive-dose flu shot for older adults.
As well as, in accordance with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention, solely injectable flu pictures are advisable this yr; the nasal spray vaccine – Reside attenuated influenza vaccine (LAIV) – is just not advisable to be used this season because of issues over its stage of effectiveness (5).
Your physician can advise you about out there vaccines and which is finest for you.
2. Cowl Your Mouth and Nostril When Coughing or Sneezing
To stop the unfold of the flu, it is very important cowl your mouth and nostril with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. This easy etiquette is vital for infection-control measures, because it prevents infectious droplets from making different folks sick.
A 2014 research revealed within the Journal of Fluid Mechanics reveals that the smaller cough and sneeze droplets journey farther distances – 5 to 200 occasions farther (6).
Regardless of being a vital safety measure, many individuals don’t comply with this hygiene behavior.
In keeping with a 2010 survey by the American Society for Microbiology, roughly one out of each 4 folks noticed in a public setting did not cowl their mouth once they coughed or sneezed. Plus, lower than 5 % of individuals coated their mouth utilizing strategies advisable by public well being officers (7).
Use a tissue to cowl your cough or sneeze, then throw it within the trash can and wash your arms. If a tissue is just not out there, sneeze or cough into the within of your elbow.
three. Keep away from Touching Your Eyes, Nostril or Mouth
Flu-causing germs typically unfold when an individual touches one thing that’s contaminated, after which touches his or her eyes, nostril or mouth.
The CDC stories that the flu virus can “reside” on some surfaces for as much as 24 hours (eight).
You may get contaminated when you contact a contaminated doorknob or gentle swap, after which rub your eyes or chew your nails.
Although chances are you’ll wash your arms often, they received’t be clear each minute of the day. It’s finest to simply keep away from touching your eyes, nostril or mouth as a lot as doable. Additionally, remind your kids to not rub their eyes or put their arms of their mouth.
four. Wash Your Fingers Typically
Whether or not it’s the flu season or any time of the yr, it is very important preserve your arms clear.
It’s typically by means of soiled arms that dangerous microbes enter the physique. Poor hand hygiene is without doubt one of the predominant causes behind the unfold of flu viruses.
You could attempt to wash your arms each time you sneeze or cough, and particularly earlier than meals.
As an alternative of simply washing your arms with plain water, use cleaning soap and water. After making use of the cleaning soap, be certain to rub your arms collectively for about 20 to 30 seconds to lather it up, then rinse off the cleaning soap fully with clear water.
Additionally, preserve alcohol-based hand cleaners round the home and in your pocket or purse. As business hand cleaners might comprise poisonous components as nicely, you’ll be able to put together your personal hand sanitizer at dwelling with all pure components.
Nonetheless, keep away from extreme hand washing as it will possibly result in dry, cracked pores and skin, which will increase the prospect of microbes coming into the physique and inflicting an an infection.