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Fight the Flu - Wash your hands and clean your machines

Friday, January 11, 2013

I'm sure everyone has seen or read all the news stories about this year's flu season being earlier and more serious than we've had in years. I blogged earlier about the flu shot - the BEST way to prevent getting the flu. If you haven't had a flu shot it is not too late. From what I have been reading, the current formulation works against the three flu strains that account for 90% of the cases so far this year. This is great news. You may have been hearing that the vaccine is not 100% effective though. This is typical for most flu vaccines and should not prevent people from getting the vaccine. From what I have been reading it is still effective in over 60% of those who get the vaccine so it is definitely worth it. And even if it does not prevent you from getting the flu, it still reduces the severity and minimizes the spread of the virus.

However, that is not the topic of this blog. The next best way to avoid getting the flu is washing your hands with warm soapy water - yes, exactly what your mother has been telling you. So remember to wash your hands regularly. This is one of my favorite outreach activities. I love visiting schools and teaching about hand washing and avoiding the spread of disease. It works great with children so why are adults so hard to train? Here is a nice article on Yahoo News about this topic.

And a link to a handwashing poster.

So do what Henry the Hand says and be a

Another risk for the spread of the flu virus for the SparkPeople crowd is fitness equipment. Our fitness center (and I'm sure most fitness centers and gyms) keeps full bottles of disinfectant and towels handy and canisters of foam disinfectant.

If your gym doesn't then I would start looking for a new gym. It really frustrates me to see so few people using them. Remember to always clean the equipment before and after you use it.

Even if you are not "sick" or the person using the equipment before you does not appear to be "sick" it is not worth the risk. Remember, with the flu you are contagious at least a day before you show symptoms.

Lastly, how many people clean your shopping cart when you go shopping? Most stores have disinfectant wipes available. I stopped at our local grocery yesterday and they ran out of the wipes. I asked the manager about it and he just shrugged and said they don't know when they will be getting more. Very disappointing.

OK, I'll step down off my soap box now. Carry on.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ALDEBARANIAN 1/16/2013 4:56PM

    Why did I stop getting your blogs? Had to come hunting for you.

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LAURELSPARK 1/12/2013 11:24PM

    Great reminder...............thanks for sharing the info!

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HEALTHIERKEN 1/12/2013 2:30PM

    The "T" zone. Right. I had forgotten about that. A really good one to teach kids!

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SYNCHRODAD 1/12/2013 11:22AM

    In avoiding viral encounters, hand washing is good. In hospitals, it definitely helps staff to not carry viruses from patient to patient. BUT, for your personal health the number one thing is to NOT touch your T zone with your hands. eyes, nose, mouth if they are not just immediately washed prior to the touch. Viral stuff is everywhere, carts, any kind of door handle, even lavatory faucets and towel dispensers (love the touchless dispensers). Stay away from the "T zone"

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JACKIE542 1/12/2013 11:08AM

    Great advice.

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SPEEDYDOG 1/12/2013 10:59AM

    Thanks for the very informative blog.


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BILL60 1/12/2013 6:23AM

    Excellent point. Thank you for sharing.

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HEALTHIERKEN 1/12/2013 12:48AM

    One of the Health Report topics that flashed across my screen today was an article stating that when hand-washing reminder posters were put up in men's washrooms on college campuses, the hand-washing rate went up to something like 80+%. Even big boys need to be reminded to wash their hands after going pee!

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GENTLEVIKING 1/12/2013 12:15AM

    Last week was the very first time I had ever wiped down a shopping cart with wipes--makes one feel better about it and its something I plan to do from now on.

I truly believe that many of my cold-related illnesses I've caught from handling shopping carts, because I tend to get sick shortly after a shopping trip.

Thanks for the reminder!

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PARKERB2 1/11/2013 7:33PM

    I had the flu shot and wash my hands very frequently. Thanks for the reminder, tho.

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CLAYARTIST 1/11/2013 7:30PM

  emoticon emoticon

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FITWITHIN 1/11/2013 7:26PM

    Wiping the machine down is the first thing I do before I workout. Thanks for the reminder.

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