Reduce Your Risk of Getting the Flu

— Written By Ann Simmons

Flu season is in full swing and should not be taken lightly. Across the U.S., there have been several fatalities. Any of us can get the flu, but people with weak immune systems, including older adults, those with cancer, persons who have had organ transplants, and even persons taking certain medications are at a higher risk.

We have known for sometime that proper hand washing is one of the most effective means of preventing the spread of infections. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), hand washing is a “do-it-yourself vaccine.” Hurried hand washing is not enough, so follow these steps when washing your hands.

  • Wet your hands with warm water.
  • Add soap to create a lather.
  • Scrub the hands and wrists for at least 20 seconds.
  • Rinse well with clean water.
  • Dry hands with a clean towel.

Click on the video links below to see demonstrations of proper hand washing:

Hand washing: English

Hand washing: Spanish

Wash your hands anytime they might be dirty or contaminated, including after using the bathroom, blowing your nose or coughing.

Cover your coughs and sneezes. When you cough or sneeze, droplets can travel quite a distance. They can also remain suspended in the air for a period, meaning that people who come in contact with the droplets can inhale them.

If you have not been vaccinated, ask your health care provider if you can still get the flu vaccine. Finally, if you think you have the flu, stay at home until you are better. Rest and follow your doctor’s instructions to avoid spreading the flu to others.