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How to Avoid The Crud

January 3, 2013 • INFECTIOUS SELECTIONS

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.

 

Quarantine yourself.

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

Daniele Farrisi

Daniele Farrisi, MPH, our Public Health columnist, works at a local non-profit organization trying to make a difference in the health and well-being of her fellow Louisianans. She spent 6 years working at an HIV clinic and has a wicked streak of humor running through her to show for it. INFECTIOUS SELECTIONS are the bits of wit and wisdom she’s acquired over the years in the trenches of the clinic, church health fairs and various state prisons. Here, she shares informative (and sometimes obscure) health information, and her stories from work.

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1 comments
Leslie | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Leslie | EDITOR-IN-CHIEF moderator

How disgusting is that guy sneezing in the photo that links here from the Featured slider?!?

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