Posted by Michael Barber, October 19, 2015 (last updated on November 24, 2018)
Flu season is upon us and generally lasts from October through March. Beyond being smart and getting the annual flu shot from an urgent care location, there are some things you may be doing to invite the flu into your body. Here are seven things to avoid during flu season.
Touching without Sanitizing
Grocery carts, the top of airplane seats as you walk down the aisle and faucets and paper towel holders in public restrooms are all easy ways to get the flu. It's best to carry sanitary wipes to clean areas before touching them—or in some cases avoid touching area altogether.
Related: Flu Shot Pros and Cons
Smoking cigarettes can lower your resistance and as your resistance lowers, the flu sees its chance to enter your body. Avoid smoking during flu season or better yet, ask retail clinics staffed with physicians to help you develop a smoking cessation plan.
Using Public Transportation
Buses, subways, trains and carpooling all higher your chances of getting the flu. Riders with the flu touch rails, seats and door handles and once you touch them, you gain a higher chance of getting the flu. Avoid public transportation during flu season if you can. If you have no other option, sway your chances of getting the flu by visiting a walk-in clinic and obtaining the flu shot.
Giving Kisses, Hugs, and Handshakes
Personal contact with one who is a flu carrier may also cause influenza to spread. Politely tell those you are skipping the handshakes and hugs during flu season and if a family member or loved one has the flu, avoid the hugs and kisses. If you have a large family, it's best for everyone to seek out a walk-in clinic location to get vaccinated for the flu.
Sharing Work Items
If you share pens, pencils, computers, headsets or have common drinking cups at your workplace, if not cleaned and sanitized properly before using, flu germs present on these items can cause the flu. Again, it's best to carry sanitary wipes to clean off shared work items and also use paper cups for drinking liquids. Skip flu season this year by doing an Internet search on "urgent care near me" to find a clinic that offers the flu shot.
Over-Exercising and Being at the Gym
You may have an exercise routine at a local gym, but over-exertion can weaken your immune system allowing the flu to take over. In addition, the exercise equipment and machines at the gym are used by numerous visitors. Be sure to sanitize the handles and grips on these machines and don't use your gym towel to wipe them off to avoid the transfer of germs. You can also benefit from exercising at home or outdoors and skipping the gym during flu season.
Sanitizers Are Good, Soap and Water is Better
If you do use sanitary wipes or cleaners make sure they contain at least 60 to 95 percent alcohol, ethanol or isopropanol. Those with lower amounts of these ingredients aren't as effective. To really battle the flu, soap and water is still your best bet. When washing with soap, be sure to clean your hands completely including the spaces between each finger and your palms before you rinse.
The flu can come on very fast and is downright miserable for some. For others in high-risk categories or the elderly, the flu could be life-threatening. Be sure to get the flu shot and, if your symptoms are severe, visit an urgent care center or retail clinic.