The flu season is in full swing across the country and Florida is not exempt – it’s considered widespread in this state. There is a higher level of flu in Florida than in the prior two flu seasons according to Florida Health, and a surveillance map shows a trend for flu to be increasing in Duval County. The state and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have statistics compiled weekly.
After nursing homes and long-term care facilities, the locations where most of the flu was contracted was schools and daycare, according to Florida Health.
Now is the time to be extra diligent with your cleaning efforts around the home. The best method of preventing flu is good handwashing practices that you can show your children and spouse. Remind your children that when they go to the bathroom at school, just pouring some water over their hands isn’t washing them. Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (equal to singing Happy Birthday to You twice). If soap and water are not available, it’s advised to use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Tip: buy a few bottles both big and small of hand sanitizer and place small ones in the backpacks of each child; and put a few bigger ones strategically around the house where it will be visible to encourage your kids.
How is flu spread?
The CDC says that people with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or may be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils don’t need to be cleaned separately according to the CDC. They also suggest that frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, especially if someone is ill.
Tip: So today, walk around your house, starting from the front door and notice everything you touch. I would suggest that it’s the front door knob, the fridge handle, the pantry door, light switches, toilet handle, taps, and the remote controls for the TV or keyboard on shared laptops or tablets.
With that list in hand, start to clean regularly and daily if you have someone sick at home. Check the label of multi-purpose disposable disinfecting wipes for any surfaces that they can’t be used on and go at it! It’s important to keep this practice up during flu season.
The Flu Is Contagious
The CDC says that adults may be able to infect other people beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5 to 7 days after becoming sick. Children may pass the virus for longer than 7 days. The most important action you can take is to get your family vaccinated. If you haven’t done it, it’s not too late. Stay well this season!
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