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.