It’s Still Time to Protect Yourself Against Catching the Flu

Dr. Bindu Mayi“Since we are still in the midst of heightened flu activity, here’s some practical advice for all of us,” said Bindu Mayi, M.Sc., Ph.D., associate professor of microbiology, in NSU’s College of Medical Sciences.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting the flu vaccine; be sure to speak with your health care provider.

While sick, limit contact with others. If you are sick with symptoms of the flu or have a flu-like illness, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone without the need for a fever-reducer like Tylenol. Avoid close contact with sick people and wear a facemask if you cannot. When you cough or sneeze, cover your nose and mouth with a tissue and throw the tissue (after use) in the trash.

Wash your hands often, preferably with soap and water and use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap is unavailable. “We need to use common sense here, so we are not washing our skins off,” said Mayi.

Wash your hands after the following scenarios

  • using elevator push buttons
  • using a commonly used door handle
  • using the computer and microphone in an auditorium
  • shopping in any store
  • exiting the restroom (Use a clean paper towel.)
  • shaking hands

What is the right way to wash your hands?

  • Wet hands with clean, running water. Lather by rubbing hands together with soap—back of hands, between fingers, under finger nails and of course your palms.
  • Scrub for 20 seconds, i.e. the time it takes to the Happy Birthday song twice. Rinse hands under clean running water (use the back of your hand to turn off the tap). Dry hands.
  • For hand sanitizers, use one with at least 60 percent alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry. Do not wipe off the hand sanitizer before your hands are dry. Wash with soap and water as soon as you can.

Don’t touch your eyes, nose and mouth until after you have washed your hands. Studies show that on an average people touch the eyes, nose and mouth 25 times every hour without even realizing it. Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs—basically anything that is used by multiple people.

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