As the influenza season goes on, let’s talk for just a moment about fighting spread of H1N1 “swine” flu or any other influenza virus in greener way.
First off, viruses are spread through contact and being around someone who has the illness. In this particular case, the virus can be spread by being inhaled after someone sneezes or coughs. Or it can be picked up if the infected person has touched surfaces or items that others then pick up, touch and interact with.
The key thing here is very simple: wash your hands. Clean surfaces with soap and hot water and disinfectant. Antibacterial chemicals sound great, but in fact, scientists are concerned that overuse of them could lead to the formation of “super germs.” And really, as much as we’d all like to think we can scrub up every germ in our surroundings, the surroundings, ie the furniture, computer keyboard, telephone and doorknobs don’t get sick.
The best, most effective way to avoid the flu will be to wash your hands with hot, soapy water as frequently as possible after coming in contact with those who have the illness or those whose health status is unknown. Wash. Wash frequently. And wash with soap.
We’ve all been hearing so much about the vaccines against these viruses. There are shortages of some and surpluses of others. Some need multiple shots or nasal sprays, while others only need one exposure. Because of the specific groups that are recommended for immunization, you’ll want to read the U.S. Center for Disease Control’s latest updates for vaccine availability as well as who is most at risk and what advice can be offered, at this web address: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1FLU/
If you do get sick, the CDC recommends you cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. If you can’t grab a tissue, cough into your sleeve or arm. And stay home as much as possible.
For most of us, the flu season will pass without greater threat. But to prevent germs and viruses from becoming any worse, you’ll want to follow the CDC’s latest updates at the website above.