As the influenza season reaches full capacity, it is important to be reminded of basic procedures to minimize the possibility of both contracting and spreading the virus. Additionally, these recommendations may help keep your family and friends healthy, as well.
Following these and other suggestions may significantly decrease the possibility of contracting the influenza virus and/or passing it on to others.
- Wash Your Hands Frequently. According to the CDC, properly washing your hands is still the most effective way to prevent the spread of the influenza virus. It is recommended to wash your hands before, during, and after preparing food; before eating food; before and after caring for someone who is sick; before and after treating a cut or wound; after using the toilet; after changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet; after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; after touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste; and after touching garbage. To watch a video showing how to properly wash your hands, CLICK HERE. [CDC]
- Avoid Contact With Those Who Are Infected. Although this is not always a possibility, attempting to avoid contact with those who are infected with the influenza virus will decrease your chances of becoming infected. There are procedures to follow if you must be around those who are sick, such as frequently washing your hands and wearing a mask, so be proactive in your approach.
- Stay Away from Others If You Are Infected. This is simple – if you are sick, STAY HOME! Your colleagues, friends, and family members will appreciate the fact you are not exposing them to the virus. If it is imperative to be in public, be cognizant of others – WEAR A MASK, DISINFECT, and DO NOT GET TOO CLOSE TO THEM!
- Boost Your Immune System Through Healthy Living. It is no secret that, more-often-than-not, those who live a healthier life have a stronger immune system. Exercise, diet, and sleep are key components to healthy living. Those who exercise do not necessarily boost their immune system, but instead create the foundation for living a healthier lifestyle which may, in-turn, create a stronger immune system. The body also becomes equipped to handle sickness and recover more quickly. / Colorful fruits and vegetables, garlic, and whole grains have all been proven to be beneficial in increasing the functionality of the immune system. Incorporating these foods into your diet may help boost your immune system. / Lastly, sleep is important in both preventing and healing your illness. According to WebMD, “It turns out that lack of sleep really may make us more prone to catching colds and the [influenza virus … because] sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function.” The recommendation is getting between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night, but mostly, it is about regulating your sleep patterns by going to sleep and rising at the same time each day. [WebMD]
- Wear a Mask. Wearing a mask can help prevent the spread of the influenza virus. According to Dr. James Steckelbery, “[Influenza] masks may help block airborne germs, and they may also prevent the transmission of germs from your hands to your mouth or nose.” Although their effectiveness may vary in prevention, it is recommended whomever has the flu should wear a mask if they are around other individuals. [Mayo Clinic]
- Stay Well-Hydrated. Hydration is another key component to warding off and fighting the influenza virus because it promotes maximized organ function. It also encourages freely flowing blood which, in-turn, boosts the immune system function. It is recommended to drink between a total of 30 to 50 ounces of water daily, spread out throughout the course of the day.
- Rest. Chances are, if you have the influenza virus, the last thing you are going to want to do is, well, anything. So, take the recommended time off and rest. The CDC recommends staying home at least 24 hours after your fever goes away, unless you need to leave the house for medical care or other urgent reasons. There are times and certain circumstances in which we do not have the luxury of fully resting because of parenting or a profession which requires our attention. The recommendation is to rest when you can. If you have the resources to hire a babysitter for a few days, do so. The more you can rest, the quicker you’ll get better! [WebMD]
- Clean. If someone in your house is sick, be sure to disinfect any surface which they come in contact. Use Lysol or any other strong disinfectant.
- Treat Your Symptoms. Treating your symptoms is the only way to combat the influenza virus. Unfortunately, there is no cure. But, there are Cold & Flu remedies which can help with the symptoms. Because of other medical factors which go into recommending a product (i.e. High Blood Pressure, Diabetes, Liver Diseases, etc.), recommendations can be made by consulting with one of the pharmacists at Stony Point Pharmacy. (If you are reading this outside of the North Rockland area or are not a current customer, we recommend contacting your local pharmacy or pharmacist.) Inhaling moist air has its benefits, as it may help loosen mucus in the nasal passages and/or lungs.
- Be Hygienic. Be sure to cover your nose when you sneeze, cover your mouth when you cough (immediately wash your hands after both), and shower daily. Showering daily not only cleanses your skin and creates the ‘fresh’ feeling, but inhaling the steam may help with any respiratory problems which you may be suffering.
- Attitude is Everything. This may be the hardest of all these recommendations. Studies have shown when an individual is sick and they maintain a positive attitude, the body sometimes responds by improving its physical health. This may not always be the case, but it will not hurt to approach having the influenza virus with a positive attitude! It will lift not only your spirits, but everyone else’s spirits around you.
- Consult Your Physician or Healthcare Professional. Finally, consulting your physician is the only way which you can be prescribed an anti-viral medication, most notably, Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®). Oseltamivir is highly effective in decreasing the longevity and symptoms of the influenza virus, but it is not recommended for everyone, as it may have side effects for some. Only you and your Healthcare Professional can determine if this medication is right for you.
If there are any questions about this, or any other post, please contact Kenneth Pearson at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
NOTE: This post is intended to provide suggestions and is not intended to take the place of any medical advice provided by your physician. If you are unsure about its content, please contact Kenneth Pearson at the above e-mail address. You may also contact your physician for further clarification, as they are the most versed in your healthcare, and will be able to provide you with ample guidance.
*Stony Point Pharmacy is an independent pharmacy located in Stony Point, NY. It has been in operation since 1956, with the current owner in operation since 1985.