How to protect your family from flu?
The flu and cold periods usually start in October. During this period, the outside weather begins to be colder and the air temperature comes to be contrasting for your body. It can continue until March or, seldom, until May. Every year, it is essential to protect your family from flu virus.
The flu virus
Flu is a contagious disease that results from infection by the influenza virus. This virus infects the respiratory tract (nose, sinuses, throat, lungs, and ears). Influenza virus infection is usually short-lived, with symptoms that may be mild or moderate.
Under normal conditions, there is complete recovery within a maximum period of two weeks, except in chronic patients, elderly people or those with other associated pathologies.
In these cases, medical surveillance is essential, as there is a risk of complications. Several authors have studied the evolution of the virus but all studies and analyses claim that every year, seasonal influenza viruses continue to cause epidemics worldwide.
The flu virus is transmitted through particles of saliva from infected people. Coughing and sneezing are the main transmitting vehicles as well as direct contact with contaminated surfaces and body parts.
How to protect your family from flu?
1. Wash hands!
If your hands are clean, viruses miss one of their preferred routes of travelling. Educate your family to wash their hands before and after eating, after using the toilet, as well as after coughing or sneezing.
Tip: Have an antibacterial gel on hand, in the car or purse, and use the wet wipes that you get in the shop to clean the handle of the cart before starting the purchase.
Flu and cold viruses can survive up to three hours on almost any surface, so it is important to wash counters and tables with a disinfectant that eliminates bacteria or with a solution of bleach and water.
Clean telephones, light switches, door handles, keyboards and also other things shared by several family members. Wash glasses, cups, and silverware with hot water and soap thoroughly after each use, and do not share or drink them from other glasses.
Tip: You can find recipes for easy and economical cleaning products on the Internet. Ingredients such as tea tree oil, vinegar, or borax are not as effective as bleach and other marketing disinfectants, but usually are safe and effective.
3. Get a flu protection
Your entire family needs assurance from viruses that occur during the flu season, from school and daycare to home and work and starting over. The CDC (The Centers for Disease Control in the United States) recommends that nearly all kids (from 6 months) and adults get immunized against the flu every year, preferably in the fall to winter months. The nasal spray flu vaccine is an alternative to the injection and can be given to children who are at least two years old.
Tip: Should you get vaccinated if you are pregnant? The answer is yes.
4. Don’t become a passive smoker
Being a passive smoker increases the risk of contracting diseases of the respiratory tract. Children who live in homes where there are smokers usually catch colds more frequently, and their diseases last lasting than those of kids who are not passive smokers. Keep in mind that you can be a passive smoker in other settings as well, such as when you visit a friend’s house or relatives who are smokers.
5. Teach your family to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze
To avoid developing viruses, teach your family to cough or sneeze at the palm. Or to use a tissue. If they sneeze into a handkerchief, or in their hands, they should be washed (and thrown away) after sneezing.
6. Avoid contagion
Protect your family, preventing them from being close to people who have the flu or a cold. If your child’s best friend is sneezing and coughing, it is not the best time for them to spend the night together.
Tip: Avoiding contagion is a two-way road. Try to keep your family members at home when they are sick, and stay too if you are sick.
7. Take care of your health
A strong immune system depends on body health, and if you are healthy you will be better equipped to combat viruses. If you are breastfeeding, do it while you can. The antibodies present in your milk can defend against many viruses.
Nourish your older family members with a well-balanced diet and inspire them to train daily and sleep well.
Tip: If your family member catches a lot, despite your efforts, don’t despair. Other very healthy people get a cold all the time. Therefore, getting cold often is not a sign of a weak immune system.