Tips for avoiding the flu virus

Sunday, December 15, 2013

As the holiday season is upon us, we must also acknowledge the dreaded flu season. Although flu activity is unpredictable, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports flu activity usually peaks between January and February. Flu activity has been known to last until May in some instances.

The flu virus is spread through person to person. People with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away through cough and sneezes (CDC, 2013).

Experts believe the flu is spread though droplets of an infected person, to another through flu cough, sneeze or talk. In some cases, a person can become affected by touching a subject and/or object that has the flu virus, then touching their own nose or mouth.

The flu virus is very contagious. An infected adult may spread the virus a day before they themselves experience any symptoms. They may also continue to spread the virus five to 10 days after becoming sick.

Children have potential of passing the virus for longer periods of time.

It is highly recommended that people who have the virus stay at home and those who do not, stay away from those who have the virus. Flu symptoms usually start within one to seven days after the virus has entered into your body.

Flu symptoms may range from body aches, fever, tiredness and dry cough. Flu symptoms have potential to lead to hospitalization and/or worsen.

The flu virus is different from the common cold as it is more severe. Both viruses are respiratory illnesses, yet they come from a different strain. In most cases, common colds do not lead to hospitalization. Rather a person with the common cold may experience runny/stuffy nose and coughing.

The flu is preventable. The single best way to prevent the flu is by obtaining a flu vaccination every season (CDC, 2013). However, the flu and common cold can be prevented by adapting six healthy habits into your lifestyle.

1. Avoid close contact with those who are sick

2. Stay at home when you are sick

3. Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing

4. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth

5. Clean your hands

6. Get plenty of sleep

For more information on topics related to food safety, nutrition and health, contact the Purdue Extension Service at 653-8411

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Upcoming events

Dec 19: Weed Management Seminar, Wingate

Dec. 24-25: Extension Office closed for Christmas

Dec. 31-Jan. 1: Extension Office closed for New Year

Jan. 21: Extension Office closed, MLK Holiday

Jan. 21-23: Indiana Horticulture Congress, Wyndham Hotel Indy.

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