A lot of my friends here in New Orleans have been coming down with “The Crud” lately. Without the proper supplies and medical training to make a diagnosis, I can’t say for sure that it’s the flu. But I’m pretty sure it’s the flu. Here are some tried and true tips for avoiding whatever seasonal infection is making the rounds through our city.
Wash your hands.
So simple, so effective. Most health organizations recommend washing with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds. Can’t fumble with the stopwatch app on your phone while you’re standing at the sink? Just sing the alphabet song or “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” to yourself. When the song is done, your hands are clean.
Cover your coughs and sneezes.
Coughing or sneezing into your bare hands doesn’t count. That just gets germs all over everything you subsequently touch. Gross! Instead, cough/sneeze into a tissue and throw it away immediately. (Don’t shove it up your sleeve for re-use, grandma.) If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow.
Take care of yourself.
I know this is easier said than done now that we are approaching Carnival season, but try to be good to yourself. Lack of sleep, extra stress, and poor diet all take a toll on your immune system. “The Crud” welcomes the smallest dip in your immunity as an opportunity to invade.
Get a flu shot.
In general, flu shots are only recommended for certain groups of people: the very old, the very young, healthcare workers, people with chronic disease, etc. However, if you are the type of person that seems to get the flu every year, it may do you some good to roll up your sleeve and get the vaccine. Talk to your doctor for more personal medical advice.
If you get sick, try to avoid contact with others until you are no longer contagious. Generally, you stop being contagious 24 hours after your fever subsides. I know; this is another tip that is easier said than done. I’m sure you are beloved by your coworkers, but they would rather miss you for a few days than catch your germs, so stay home.
Here’s to a happy and healthy new year!
Feature image: Daniele Farrisi