The flu virus is everywhere during the winter season, and it’s incredibly easy to spread. In fact, the Center for Disease Control says people with the flu can spread it to others up to six feet away!
That means, wherever you go, the opportunity for exposure to the flu virus is ever apparent. Even so, there are ways to prevent exposure and protect yourself and your family from getting sick. General awareness and avoidance when necessary is a great start, allowing you and your family to be more mindful about hand-washing, staying hydrated, getting vaccinated and potentially even using natural remedies to prevent sickness in the first place.
Here are a few common indoor environments you’re likely to encounter the flu virus.
Shopping Malls and Department Stores
In years past, this one has been a tough one to avoid during the wintertime. As the holidays approach, many of us would prefer to get our shopping done quickly and efficiently without running the risk of infection. However, given the hoards of people hustling and bustling around, touching everything, and spreading germs, the risk runs high.
Today, however, the beauty of online shopping allows us to get all of our shopping done quickly and efficiently without having to leave our homes.
Schools and Day Cares
Kids are notorious for spreading germs throughout the winter season, and the flu is typically one of the bigger seasonal wellness culprits.
“The chances of your picking up the flu are greater because children are the great distributors of the influenza virus,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center told Weather.com. “They exhale larger amounts of virus and they are able to transmit the virus for even longer periods than adults.”
Teaching your children to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze, to wash their hands often, and to drink plenty of water will go a long way toward preventing the spread of germs and viruses.
Much like schools and day cares, the flu virus is no stranger to most office buildings. This may largely be due to the fact that Americans tend to not take sick days when they’re feeling under the weather.
“We are given a bucket of PTO [personal time off] days and whether you use them for vacation or staying home sick, the company doesn’t care,” one mom and vice president at a Fortune 500 company told Shape.com. “I’m not going to waste them sitting at home nursing a cold. To me, PTO days are for vacation or in patient hospital stays and that’s it.”
Apparently, that’s status quo for the majority of American workers, so be sure to steer clear of Karen in Accounting or Bill in IT if you notice they’re looking a bit ill.
And if you’re filling sick yourself…do yourself and your fellow office mates a favor and stay home.
It goes without saying, most public transportation doubles as a breeding ground for germs and viruses. They aren’t well sanitized and are often filled with hundreds – sometimes thousands – of people per day.
Airplanes, in particular, are particularly disturbing around the holidays. So much so, in fact, that the Center for Disease Control created guidelines for airline crews to help them identify sick passengers and provide care.
If you’re traveling this winter season, take the necessary precautions to ensure you’re keeping yourself and your family happy and healthy.
Because the flu virus is so common in the winter months, a higher emphasis should be placed on Winter Wellness. One of the lesser-known ways to achieve Winter Wellness at home, truthfully, is to improve your indoor air quality by adding humidity.
Studies show that proper humidification has been shown to reduce the flu by 30%. Create a safe haven at home from the risk of external flu virus contact by contacting an Aprilaire professional to discuss your Winter Wellness options.