Jessica Dean and Robin Rodriguez

It’s almost the end of flu season, did you survive without getting sick?  Although it may seem that flu season is almost over, we aren’t out of the woods yet. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are still reporting “widespread” infections in seven states, including California. 

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that two drugs used to treat Type-A influenza infections have been determined by the CDC to be ineffective against new strains of the flu and should no longer be prescribed.  There are still two other drugs that are effective in treating the flu bug, but the best way to beat the flu is still prevention.

Ironically, the key to prevention is still as easy as it was when you were a kid. Simply put, wash your hands!  Wash your hands after you use the restroom, before you eat or prepare food; wash your hands if you cough or sneeze, or if you’ve just touched something that everyone else has touched (such as the handrail on the city bus).

If you aren’t near water and can’t wash your hands right away, just make sure that you don’t touch your face.  It is estimated that the majority of flu or cold infections are the result of a person touching a contaminated surface and then touching their mouth or eyes.  If someone in your household is sick, a roommate perhaps, you should be prepared to wash your hands more frequently to avoid getting their disease.

Once you’re done washing your hands, take a moment to think about the many surfaces that you touch on a daily basis. 

Allison Janse, author of “The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu,” would likely attack you with that infamous little bottle of antibacterial hand cleanser and spray down every surface in your home with Lysol. We’re not saying you should go that far, but you should be aware that germs are everywhere, and it’s important to practice good hygiene. It doesn’t take much effort on your part; all you need is hot, soapy water and a paper towel to disinfect things like faucet handles, refrigerator doors and doorknobs.

So what if you’ve done all of this and you still get sick?  You should visit the Health Center as soon as you can so you do not infect others.  If you have influenza, you should be treated by a doctor. If you’ve got the common cold, you can self-diagnose and treat yourself at the health center’s Cold-Clinic station, which is fast and easy and can help send you on the road to recovery. 

In any case, stay at home if you are sick, and remember to wash your hands.  It’s the easiest way to prevent the spread of germs to others, because after all, we don’t want your cold either.

 

Jessica and Robin are senior nutrition students and Peer Health Educators.  Send your questions or article suggestions to:  ahealthyhabit@gmail.com.

 

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