Here are some tips to reduce your risk of transmitting the flu (or a cold) to your loved ones if you are sick.
Efficient hand washing
We can never say it enough: hand washing is THE most effective method of prevention against viral infections such as influenza, colds or gastroenteritis. Still it must be done the right way!
Use ordinary soap and warm water. The soap helps dislodge the virus from the skin but it is the rubbing action that really does the job. Simply putting your hands under the tap is not enough! You should rub your skin vigorously for 15 to 20 seconds and make sure to cover all the surfaces of the hands (between the fingers, palm and top of the hand) and under the nails.
If you do not have access to soap and water, you can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Avoid making it your regular prevention method because alcohol is drying for the hands. In addition, studies have suggested that these products may be less effective than hand washing against certain viruses (e.g. the norovirus that causes gastroenteritis).
When should you wash your hands? Always before preparing food and after going to the toilet. Also, if you have symptoms of a cold or flu, wash your hands after sneezing, coughing or blowing your nose to reduce the risk of contaminating your environment.
Sneezing and coughing the right way!
To avoid projecting the virus into the air around you when you sneeze or cough, always try to cover your mouth and nose with a tissue. Throw it away in the trash and wash your hands thoroughly. Do not keep a dirty tissue in your pockets!
If you do not have a tissue, place the crook of your elbow or your upper arm in front of your nose and mouth.
Avoiding contact with those at risk of complications
You have the flu and one of your loved ones’ health might be compromised if they get it (eg baby, elderly or sick person)? Try to avoid contact until you are symptom free, if possible. If you cannot avoid contact, wash your hands well and wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth.
Get a flu shot each year
Since influenza viral strains change each year, influenza vaccination should be repeated annually. Several Familiprix offer the flu vaccination service. Check with your pharmacist the availability of this service!