If you watch or listen to the news, you’ll hear a lot about H1N1 aka Swine Flu, but you can do things to lower your chances of getting this or any seasonal influenza. The main one, which your momma should have taught you, is to wash your hands!
As I’m sure you know, there is a method to washing your hands correctly. The Center for Disease Control tells us how to wash our hands The Right Way:
- Wet your hands with clean running water and apply soap. Use warm water if it is available.
- Rub hands together to make a lather and scrub all surfaces.
- Continue rubbing hands for 15-20 seconds. Need a timer? Imagine singing “Happy Birthday” twice through to a friend.
- Rinse hands well under running water.
- Dry your hands using a paper towel or air dryer. If possible, use your paper towel to turn off the faucet.
- Always use soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
Since the place where I work has a lot of people coming and going, who don’t always wash their hands when using the restroom, I take the “use your paper towel to turn off the faucet” one step further. In addition, I use the paper towel to open the door, then with my foot blocking the door open, I toss the paper towel into the wastebasket.
Two people were sick at work last week, and I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the dreaded Swine Flu. Not that I’m scared, I honestly don’t understand the big hype over influenza. I lived through all the others, Asian, Chicken, Bird, Ostrich, Gorilla, Tiger and Rhinoceros, so I’m sure I’ll survive the Pig Flu. ;-) If not, I’m confident of where I’m going when I die, so bring it on!
Both coworkers came down with a painful sore throat overnight. My boss was the first one; she stayed home the first day, but came in the next. My coworker in the office next to me got the sore throat the day after my boss, but she came in to work because she had a meeting she simply had to attend. She stayed until her meeting was over, and asked if I could please shut down her computer because she had to leave for her doctor’s appointment.
I always wash my hands after using the restroom, and before eating or having anything to do with food, but I don’t typically wash my hands after touching someone else’s mouse or keyboard; however, I did walk straight to the restroom after shutting down my coworker’s computer.
The Center for Disease Control has these additional recommendations:
- Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
Take everyday actions to stay healthy.
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
- Stay home if you get sick. CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
Besides washing my hands more often when people around me are sick, I do these other things:
- Take Echinacea/Goldenseal°. It boosts the immune system. I prefer the liquid tincture, but also keep the capsules° at home and at work. If someone is hacking and coughing and sneezing at work, I’ll go right away and take the capsules.
- Take extra Vitamin C.
- Drink enough water.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Avoid fake foods, sugar and white flour.
In a few days, I’ll share my thoughts on how to take care of yourself if you catch the flu.
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Stay well out there!