|Ways to protect yourself and others from the flu virus
This year’s flu season is turning out to be a tough one. According to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there was a slight dip
in flu activity in Massachusetts this past week but only time will tell
if this trend will continue.
It’s true that those most likely to become seriously ill from the
seasonal flu are over age 65. But the flu can be risky for anyone, even
healthy adults and especially young children. Children under the age of
2 have some of the highest rates of hospitalization from the flu.
Children under 6 months are at the most risk from the seasonal flu
because they’re too young to get the vaccine.
If you’re in good health, you’ll probably recover from the seasonal flu
just fine. However, healthy adults forget that while they themselves
might be at low risk for getting serious flu complications, other
people in their lives might not. If you have a small child or older
parent at home, or are in regular contact with these age groups, an
otherwise healthy adult could easily transfer the virus and endanger
Controlling the spread of the flu is important. Below are tips the
Community Health Nurses and Clinicians of the Visiting Nurse
Association of Boston share with their patients during the flu season.
Let’s all do our part to stay healthy and prevent the flu!
Visiting Nurses Offer Flu Tips
your hands with soap and water for at least 15-30 seconds after contact
with someone with the flu or anything that they have touched. Liquid
soap is safer than bar soap. If soap is not available, use a hand
sanitizing gel. Don't touch your mouth, nose or eyes with your hands
after touching surfaces touched by people with the flu.
The flu virus can live on surfaces for up to 24 hours. Clean surfaces
that people touch a lot. Sinks, counters, telephones, door knobs,
remote controls, toilets and light switches are important places and
things to clean often. Use sanitizing wipes or diluted bleach to clean.
Diluted bleach can be made by mixing a ¼ cup of bleach with 1 gallon of
Dirty dishes, cups, forks, spoons and knives should be washed by hand
or in a dish washer with warm water and dish washing soap. You do not
need to separate dishes used by people with the flu.
Sheets and clothes used by people who are sick can be washed in washing
machines with other laundry. Wash hands after handling dirty laundry.
Care should be used when handling soiled laundry (i.e., avoid “hugging”
the laundry) to avoid contamination.
Trash should be thrown away in plastic bags that are closed with twist ties, string, or tape.
Be sure to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing
and/or coughing. Make sure to throw the used tissue in the trash.
If tissues are not available, sneeze and/or cough into your arm in
front of the elbow. That way if you are contagious (and it is really
hard to know if you aren't), the germs coming out of your mouth don’t
make it onto your hands, which interact with the world by touching.
Since you are less likely to touch things with your elbow or shoulder,
the germs won’t spread.
People with flu symptoms should stay away from other family
members. Visitors should stay away too. If you can, choose one bathroom
to only be used by sick persons. People with the flu should not leave
home until they are free of a fever for 24 hours without the use of
medication to lower the fever.
People who do not have the flu should try as much as possible to avoid crowds and public places.
The VNA of Boston also recommends flu vaccinations to all of our patients 6 months and older.
The best was to protect yourself against the flu is to get vaccinated
each year. It is absolutely not too late to get your flu vaccine. Call
your health care provider to schedule an appointment or visit
www.mylocalclinic.com to find a flu clinic near you.
For more information about flu, flu vaccine, and other ways that you
and your family can stay healthy this flu season, please visit
www.mass.gov/flu or call the Massachusetts Department of Public
Health’s Immunization Program at (617) 983-6800.
About the VNAB
The Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates (VNAB), with
a commitment to all who need us, provides the highest quality and most
efficient solutions for keeping people independent, at home and in the
community, maximizing their health and quality of life. For more
information about our services and how we can help you or a loved one
call (617) 426-5555 or visit us online at www.bostonvna.org
This article brought to you courtesy of VNAB.
Visiting Nurse Association of Boston & Affiliates
617-886-6463 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Posted: January 18, 2013