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Keep Your Family Healthy This Holiday Season

Young mother and her daughters by a fireplace on Christmas
Once you or your family is infected with the flu virus, it is not easy to treat the infection. Just as in many other conditions, prevention of the diseases is the surest way to stay safe. With just a careful attention to hygiene, you can prevent the various flu viruses from reaching your family. As well, the inclusion of immunity boosters can come in handy for you and your family. Moreover, you can always avoid a full blown illness by acting quickly when you notice the first symptom. Here are some of the ways to prevent the flu from catching your family.

Taking up good hygiene practices

There is a myriad of means to observe proper hygiene and consequently keep off the flu and other diseases. One such way is by ensuring you wash your hands. It is an easy way to prevent both contraction and the spreading of the flu virus. Washing hands reduce significantly the proliferation of bacteria ant the flu virus from cold surfaces. Ensure your family follows these steps in washing their hands

  • Before applying soap to your hands, ensure you wet them. Scrub your palms vigorously for about twenty seconds ensuring that under your nails, the spaces between your fingers and the back of your palm are reached properly.
  • Use running water to rinse your hands and use a clean towel to dry them
  • If you can’t locate and soap and water, rub your hand on a hand sanitizer.

Ensure everyone in the family covers their nose and mouth whenever they cough or sneeze.

This should be done by putting their hands in both the nose and mouth whenever there is the need to sneeze. Doing this will considerably mitigate the risk of spreading the germs and viruses

  • Each time you develop the urge to sneeze or cough consider doing so into the crook of your elbow. This will help to avoid contaminating you’re going all over spreading germs to other people.
  • After doing so, throw away the tissue you used immediately and embark on the hand washing process.

Sanitize the places you share

Cold and flu virus spread very easily especially on shared surfaces and spaces such as bathrooms and kitchen. Disinfecting these areas of your house will take you a long way in ensuring the flu virus does not spread.

  • Focus the cleaning on shared areas including bathroom sinks, kitchen counters toilets and the kitchen sink. As well, do not forget the door handles.
  • There are a variety of surface disinfectants available in local stores. In shopping for the disinfectants, you may want to consider one that will provide you will protection against the several strains of the virus.

Boosting your immunity

Even as there is no cure for influenza, you can always get a vaccination against the disease on a yearly basis. This can significantly help to strengthen your immunity against the influenza virus during cold seasons. Ask your doctor whether getting the vaccination would be a good idea for you. When opting for the vaccination, you may want to consider the following in mind

  • Ensure you get the vaccine yearly. The vaccine you had in the previous year can never carry over into the next year.
  • Be aware that you may feel some soreness at the injection site.
  • Report to your doctor any side effects including fever, soreness and body aches.
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Understanding the Swine Flu

strain1

Image is from Flowing Data

Obtaining A Diagnosis

The only way to accurately diagnose swine flu is through a flu test. This is because the symptoms of swine flu look exactly the same as those found in conventional strains of influenza. Even differences of severity aren’t always indicators of one strain or another. While it is possible to see increased symptomatic characteristics stemming from swine flu, it’s just as possible to acquire this strain and feel as though you’ve contracted a regular bout of the flu. How you are affected will depend largely upon your personal constitution.

The extremely young and extremely old, like with conventional strains of the flu, will be at increased risk; likely experiencing more severe symptoms. This is because older and younger populations have immune systems which aren’t as strong as those in the prime of life. That said, if you live an unhealthy lifestyle replete with regular contact to diverse people groups, lack of exercise, and a ubiquity of vice (like smoking and drinking), you’re at an increased risk of contracting more severe influenza strains.

A Distinct History

There are actually quite a few different kinds of swine flu, including:

  • H1N1
  • H1N2
  • H2N1
  • H3N1
  • H3N2
  • H2N3

Primarily, the strain commonly referred to as “Swine Flu” is the H1N1 virus. This is that which caused a pandemic which quickly became global seven years ago, in 2009. Since then, this strain of flu has become seasonal in humans, though it still regularly circulates in swine populations. Thankfully, if you’re planning on eating pork, so long as any pork products you consume have been properly prepared, you won’t get the virus. Proper preparation includes cooking; so if you like your bacon soft and rubbery, you might have to give that up to avoid swine flu.

Avoiding Swine Flu

While properly prepared pork will not get you sick, it’s very possible to acquire the virus through poorly prepared pork products. If you can tone down your pork intake during flu season, it’s a good idea; even though you likely won’t catch the flu this way. It’s more likely to get transmitted by a sneeze, a cough, a loud phlegmy laugh, or contacting a door handle/table/hand-rail that’s been touched by an infected individual. Regular hygiene practices go a long way toward preventing influenza. That means washing your hands when you’ve come into contact with areas that may have been compromised, eating a diet high in non-processed foods that include fruits and vegetables, regularly exercising, and retaining a high level of fluids.

Additional Preventative Measures

Getting a swine flu vaccine can definitely help reduce your risk of contracting this specific strain of the flu. But to get that vaccine, you should be advised that peak health is to be recommended. A vaccine initiates an immune system response which bears some characteristics of the sickness itself. This is because an inert (or weakened) antigen is injected into the body, giving the immune system a chance to deal with it and prepare for a future incursion of the same.

Times Of Maximum Risk

Flu season conventionally begins toward the end of September, though it can begin as early as late August. It usually lasts through early spring. Conventionally, you’ll find that influenza season picks up at the end of Summer/the middle of Autumn. Several things which contribute are regular vacation travels, the new school year, and holidays like Halloween and Thanksgiving where disparate people groups regularly mingle. For you and your family, retaining good eating and fitness habits, as well as a proper inoculation regimen, are great ways to combat this increasingly prominent strain of the influenza virus.

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How to Reduce the Spread of Germs

kid washing hands with mom

Image is from Healthy Tennessee

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

You need to worry about microscopic bugs, the bugs you cannot see with the human eye. These microscopic germs you cannot see are the carriers of a lot of disease and illness.

Deadly, Simple Routines

You never stop to think about how clean the person’s hands were who used your shopping cart before you.

  • What did that person do last before grabbing the shopping cart you are now holding in your hands?
  • Did that person have their hands in their mouth?
  • Did the person go to the restroom and not wash their hands?
  • Did the person sneeze or cough into their hands?

While many people wash their hands before leaving a restroom, there are still some people who do not routinely wash their hands.

As sad as this fact is, many people still visit the bathroom and do not wash their hands after they finish using the toilet. If this makes you cringe, it should, because this scenario is all too true.

What if someone had the flu symptoms and was coughing and sneezing into their hands and then placed their hands on your shopping cart where your hands now rest?

Oops, you have an itchy nose and reach a hand up to scratch your face with a hand that was holding someone’s sneeze or a cough.

We cannot see these microscopic germs, but these bacteria are present in and on everything we touch. You can feel pretty comfortable in your home; however, when you are out in the public domain with strangers all around, you must be cautious and think the very worst you can to stay relatively healthy.

Be Aware of Your Environment

While you cannot eliminate these nasty germs from your surroundings, you can take some steps significantly decreasing unknown microscopic bacteria in your environment by using some plain and simple common sense.

  • Carry a small bottle of hand sanitizer in a pocket or purse and use it before and after using a shopping cart, before eating, after leaving a public restroom and just because it is time to disinfect your hands.
  • If a store supplies bacterial wipes at cart corrals, grab some wipes and cleanse the cart handles before using. You can carry wipes wherever you go.
  • When a store display a bottle of hand sanitizer, use some.
  • When you have to sneeze or cough, do so into a tissue. If no tissue is available, cough or sneeze into your upper arm or crook of your elbow, and use sanitizer afterward.
  • A sneeze is believed to travel, at least, 400 miles per hour. sanitizer afterward.
  • If you have the flu symptoms or a severe cold, never go out into the public, stay home.
  • If you must go out and you are ill, wear a mask.
  • Be sure to get your pneumonia and flu shot when due.
  • Never share eating or drinking utensils.
  • See your doctor if you are ill and not getting better.
  • Never use anything that you think could be contaminated by germs like towels, washcloths, and makeup.

How to Wash Your Hands in a Public Restroom.

  1. Turn on the faucet with a piece of dry paper towel.
  2. Wash hands well with warm soapy water.
  3. Rinse hands.
  4. Do not turn faucets off until you dry your hands well.
  5. Grab a piece of dry paper towel to turn the faucet handles off.

People leave germs on the faucet handles after using the toilet. These bacteria can penetrate wet paper towels and go back onto your hands.

Using common sense is the best way to help eliminate the spread of germs.

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