DON'T BELIEVE ALL THE
Your chances of catching the flu are
fairly small. The CDC
says that the number of influenza cases in recent years has
varied from 9 - 35 million cases per year in the USA, of whom
20,000-50,000 die. So, in the worst case
scenario, out of a USA population of 323 million, 10% will catch the
flu -- and almost all (99.98%) will fully recover.
Except for the elderly,
dying from the flu is
far less likely than dying in a traffic accident or being shot (those over 65 comprise 90% of flu
So, the following tips will
reduce your chances of getting the flu from
10%, down to vanishingly small. And yet the first tip is almost
never mentioned, despite probably being the most effective and obvious
A "NEW" FLU / COLD PREVENTION TIP: "HOLD YOUR BREATH"!
Ok, I know that almost no one in their right
mind ever suggested this
one, because no one can hold their breath long enough to avoid sucking
it in when someone nearby coughs --
right? Well, the
record for holding one's breath is way above
5 minutes, and YOU only need to hold it long enough to move
the cougher / sneezer, or at least let his/her sneeze particles slowly
drift away and disperse from any proximity to your nose.
The idea is to stop inhaling immediately -- in midstream --
hearing a nearby sneeze/cough. That's because the spray of
germs/virus travels at
about 100 mph, and up
to 26 feet (or more) away from the sneezer. And no one disputes that breathing in cough / sneeze droplets (Yuck! Yikes!) is a major source of spreading all sorts of ugly diseases (including colds, measles, SARS, chickenpox, and tuberculosis).
Don't believe me, believe this: "A good rule of thumb: if you see or hear someone sneeze nearby, hold your breath for 10 to 15 seconds."
This has TWO purposes:
keeps you from direct contact with doorknobs and hand railings and
money, all of
which are flush with the germs of others. And just as
b) it keeps
you from then touching
your eyes, nose, or mouth, which we ordinarily do many times each hour
-- and thereby infecting ourselves with whatever long-lived
flu/cold germs have been left on surfaces by the sick, or even
mostly-recovered victims of illness.
WASH YOUR HANDS
Just because you have safely returned
home after evading all the germs "out there", you aren't home free
yet. No doubt you had to remove those gloves on occasion to
type on your computer, or get your car keys, or get some change, or
shake someone's hand (else get
fired), but at least you then put your gloves on again so you wouldn't
forget and touch your eye/nose area.
despite all your best efforts, your hands probably have some germs
(including those present on the mail you just
picked up: did you know that even mail carriers sometimes get
flu?). So, before you rub those
tired eyes, you need to scrub your hands with soap or hand sanitizer; a paper towel can be used for the scrubbing.
Hopefully, the whole family will show similar diligence.
WHAT ABOUT WEARING FACEMASKS?
Masks would work wonders -- but mainly,
if the coughers
would wear them (they almost never do). Unfortunately, most masks have limited utility because
they are not air-tight, and they are inconvenient and uncomfortable,
and they look bizarre in workplace settings, etc. While they
may do you some good,
holding your breath is something you don't have to buy, and it's always
available. As is washing your hands often. And
This season (2017-8), the vaccine is
less effective. See
this and this,
and then decide for yourself. But whatever you
the other things too because, taken together, they multiply any
advantage the shot may provide.
LEARN HOW TO COUGH AND COVER
There already IS a law against Reckless
it's called the "Golden Rule". Or "Common Decency".
anyone if it would be ok if some stranger with a contagious disease
were to cough or sneeze on them or their children. And after
of them replied how abominable and classless such a thing would be,
half of them would then go out and cough/sneeze on or near
ELSE'S children -- or the elderly, etc.
This can often end up being the moral equivalent of assault or
victim(s) may be subject to severe illness or even possible death:
especially for children,
pregnant women, and the elderly.
someone with either an exaggerated sense of entitlement, or who simply
doesn't know any better, never learned this simple civility.
The rule is, cough/sneeze into the
"crook" of your raised elbow. Or, into a
handkerchief. And preferably NOT into your bare hands, unless
intend to immediately go and wash them (without touching /
contaminating doorknobs: good luck on that).
Here's a great video
in which a nurse demonstrates how to cough and cover, along with other