The United States is experiencing one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory. As many as 30 children have died due to the illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
Since the bug emerged last fall, hundreds of adults have succumbed as well, but that doesn’t make this season’s bug as unusual as it seems. CDC figures show that as many as 56,000 people die from the flu every year. What makes this flu season stand out is how pervasive it is. Federal health officials said the illness has spread to all contiguous states as well as Puerto Rico.
With that in mind, we want to do all we can to stay in good health, especially since we may be needed to help others get well.
4 ways to prevent the flu in 2018
One way to prevent the flu in your home or at the job (and to show those we live and work with that we love them) is to implement the KISS method. KISS is an acronym that we’ve come up with to easily remember what we need to do to prevent the spread of the flu. As you’ll see, each of the steps requires an action on our part.
Keep your hands clean
Viruses often live on surfaces we put our hands on: countertops, tables, laptops and office desks, for example. We need to keep our hands clean if we’re going to stay healthy. The CDC says, “Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.”
Inoculate: Get a flu shot
If you haven’t already, it’s not too late to get a flu shot. One of the biggest things that discourage people from getting vaccinated is the misconception that flu shots cause people to get sick. The CDC says that while illness from a flu shot is rare, it most likely is caused by other culprits: You may have another respiratory virus such as bronchitis or pneumonia. Also, it’s possible that you may have been exposed to a virus that is another strain of the flu and not the one used in the vaccine. In any event, the flu shot does not cause the flu.
Stay at home
If you happen to be employed, there is no shame in staying home from work if you’re not feeling well. That’s why employees have an allotment of sick days. Of course, there are times when you feel that your absence would delay certain tasks or projects that need to be completed. If you can’t take a vacation day, see if it’s possible for you to work remotely. In any event, if you’re sick from the flu or a cold, it’s a good idea to stay home so as not to spread it at work.
Steer clear of close contact
While you may not have a water cooler at your job, there may still be times when you congregate to discuss a project or have a meeting. While face-to-face may be ideal, many companies now have inter-office messaging systems that allow for the same conversations to take place remotely. If you you’re a boss or supervisor, encourage online communications rather than close contact by initiating messages via computer.
Bonus: Cover your nose and mouth
One of the primary ways that the virus travels is in the air when an infected person coughs or sneezes. If you are sick, it’s important to cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. To limit the spread of germs, it’s best to put a handkerchief or tissue between your hand and mouth.