The dreaded flu season is upon us again, and if you are anything like me (being someone who seems to get the flu just by thinking about it) you will want to know everything and anything there is to know about how you can avoid it.
In Australia flu season typically runs from June to about October, peaking in August. This year medical professionals are predicting that we are about to have one of our worst flu seasons. yet, it hasn't even started yet and already there have been around 40,000 confirmed influenza cases in Australia this year. Compare that to 58,500 cases recorded in the whole of 2018- the season is looking set to be a big one. So- how do we avoid getting the flu? Because I don't want to scare you... but they're predicting around 4000 deaths from the flu and I am not keen on being one of them.
Here are some of the tips I've found to help you avoid the flu this season:
- Get the flu shot- duh.
Most of the flu shots available in 2019 will protect you against four different types of influenza. The best time to get the shot was around mid-April, but better late than never right? The shot will protect you for three to four months and is readily available at most GP's and some chemists. You can get the shot for free if you are over 65, have certain medical conditions, are pregnant or are Aboriginal or Torres Stright Islander- for everyone else it will only cost approximately $25.
- Wash your damn hands.. and don't touch your face!
If you've been touching communal surfaces like the light switch or a doorknob or a computer keyboard don't touch your face after. While just touching an infected surface won't give you the flu, if you then transfer that infection to the mucosal membrane in your nose and mouth, that's when you'll be in trouble.
- Clean your surfaces.
Your work desk, your kitchen table, the benches in your kitchen, your phone charger- wash them down at least once a day because the virus can stay alive without a host for around 24 hours. The standard household cleaner will do.
- Avoid other peoples tissues.
Look we all know people who leave their tissues laying around, especially when they're sick and they don't want to go to the bin- but avoid at all costs picking up someone else's tissues in order to bin them.
- Just because your partner has it doesn't mean you have to as well.
Okay, once your partner gets the flu there is a pretty good chance you are going to get infected as well but it doesn't mean you can't try and avoid it. Obviously, avoid their mouth and their saliva so rule kissing off the table for a while. I mean if it is an option you could avoid sleeping in the same bed as your partner, if that isn't an option for you- avoid sharing pillows, avoid touchy-feely while in bed and change the bedding ASAP.
- Don't share your food with someone who has the flu.
Okay, imagine this: sharing a huge platter with your friends... and one of them has the flu. NIGHTMARE. It is pretty hard to get the flu this way but it is possible through consuming accidentally contaminated food and sharing cutlery.
- Put your toothbrush away.
If you share your house with people, don't leave your toothbrush out in the open! Someone could quite easily be hanging out in the bathroom (as you do) and accidentally sneeze, cough, breathe- whatever on your toothbrush, only for you to go and use said toothbrush a few hours later.
- Keep some hand sanitiser at the ready.
Put it in your work bag, in your car, wherever you can think of. And make sure you use it.
Happy flu season! Good luck with that.