Santa Doesn’t Take Sick Days: Keeping Yourself Flu-Free During The Holidays
What Exactly Is the Flu?
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 5-20 percent of Americans get the flu each year. Most active from October to March, the flu, also known as influenza, is caused by viruses that affect the nose, throat and lungs. Symptoms include a high fever, runny nose, sore throat, severe body aches and fatigue. Unfortunately, the holiday season is often when victims become ill.
If you’re worried about the flu getting in the way of upcoming festivities, read on to learn simple methods for protecting yourself and your family.
How to Stay Ahead of the Flu
You may be asking, “What is the best way for me to avoid this virus?” This is a commonly asked question during flu season. There are many theories, but we at LeBauer HealthCare think that the following are some of the most effective.
- Rinse and Repeat
Some of the best advice for staying flu-free is to keep your hands clean and away from your face. There are more than 5,000 germs on your hands at any given time, so when you are out shopping this holiday season, be sure to wash them thoroughly with soap and water throughout the day.
To completely rid yourself of viruses on your skin, you must scrub hard for 20 seconds or more. Consider singing “Happy Birthday” or the “A-B-C” song twice while scrubbing the backs of your hands, between your fingers and under your nails. The common “hot vs. cold water” debate doesn’t apply, as the very act of scrubbing is enough to rid yourself of germs.
- An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
One of the easiest ways to prevent coming down with the flu is getting a flu shot. LeBauer HealthCare has years of experience in this area and our staff is available to provide consultations if you have questions about the vaccination. We also have a free flu clinic and extended hours so that you can get your vaccination without hassle in a safe, professional and friendly environment.
- Sanitize, Sanitize, Sanitize
Germs tend to live longer on cold surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and handles. To effectively kill harmful germs during flu season, use sanitizing wipes that contain antiviral disinfectants rather than commonly-applied antibacterial solutions.
Not a fan of chemical disinfectants? No problem. Try this recipe for a homemade germ-killer instead! Mix 2 cups of water, 3 tablespoons of liquid soap and 20-30 drops of tea tree oil. If you’re out-and-about and worried about what germs may be lurking in plain sight, use a washcloth that’s been soaked in a weak solution of bleach and water to wipe down door handles and shopping carts. These handy wipes can be prepared in advance and stored in sandwich bags for those frequent errands that the holiday season requires.
- An Apple a Day…
…Keeps the flu away! Perhaps it’s not a sure bet, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle is paramount in keeping illness away. Make sure that you are getting enough sleep, taking your vitamins and eating a balanced diet daily. You are far more likely to get sick when you are tired, regardless of the season.
- Keep Your Guard Up
Avoid getting close to people who are sick. Studies show that 80% of germs are passed through human-to-human contact. For example, shaking hands or spending time in enclosed spaces with people who may be sick increases your chances of catching the virus. If public transportation is a non-negotiable part of your day, consider bringing some tissues to hold over your nose and mouth should anyone around you start sneezing or coughing. This will help block out some of the airborne germs.
- If All Else Fails…
All of these methods boil down to one principle – being aware of yourself and your surroundings. Sneeze into your elbow. Hydrate! Avoid shaking hands with others, if possible. If you prepare and remain cautious throughout the winter months, you will have better chances of remaining healthy this flu season.
About LeBauer HealthCare
One of the largest multi-specialty practices in the Southeast, LeBauer HealthCare’s goal has always been to offer the best possible medical care to the community. With our team of highly trained, family-oriented physicians, we are able to effectively meet your health needs with a smile. Please feel free to contact us for more information about the services we offer and our flu clinic. Call us today at (336) 547-1700. We are always happy to hear from you!