The flu season spans the fall and winter, with the peak from the end of November until March. Influenza, or the flu, is a contagious respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and lungs. It can cause mild to severe illness and can even lead to death.
Experts believe the flu spreads mainly by droplets created when people cough, sneeze or even talk around other people. These droplets touch down in the mouths, eyes, or noses of people who are close by and can also land on nearby surfaces. A person can even get the flu from touching a surface or object that has the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. Adults may be able to infect others beginning one day before symptoms develop and up to five to seven days after becoming sick. The time from when a person is exposed to the flu virus to when symptoms begin is about one to four days with an average of two days.
There are several ways to prevent the flu each season:
- Get the flu vaccine!
- Stay away from people who are sick and stay home from work or school when you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes
- Wash your hands frequently
- Clean frequently touched surfaces
“Since flu germs can live on a surface for up to 24 hours, here are some cleaning tips to thwart the flu:”
Since flu germs can live on a surface for up to 24 hours, here are some cleaning tips to thwart the flu:
- Target germ hot spots. Clean both cell phone and landline telephones; computers, keyboards, and mouses; remote controls; light switches; doorknobs, handles and push plates; desks and tables; bathroom faucets and toilet handles; sheets, blankets, and towels.
- If you have a sick family member, give them their own sheets, towels, and blankets, and be sure to wash them thoroughly and frequently. If you can’t wash a child’s favorite toy, put it away for a few days to allow any flu germs on it to die off.
- Heat at or greater than 167 degrees F kills flu viruses, so make sure water temperature is at or above that temperature when doing laundry.
- You can clean hard surfaces of flu germs with common household cleaning products that contain chlorine, hydrogen peroxide, detergents and soap, iodophors (iodine-based antiseptics – keep away from infants), and alcohols.
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