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Spreading Flu: Do You Know the Rules?

Tips to Avoid Spreading or Catching the Flu continued...

According to the CDC, findings indicate the human influenza viruses can survive on surfaces between two and eight hours. You should wash or disinfect your hands whenever you've touched something that an infected person might recently have touched: computer keyboards, telephone receivers, doorknobs, elevator buttons, faucet handles, countertops, railings, and so on.

5. Know the rules of washing your hands in a public restroom.

To make sure you get the fine art of hand washing when using a public restroom, here are the rules:

  • Run the water until it is warm.
  • Get a paper towel and hold it under one arm.
  • Put soap on your hands.
  • Rub your hands and fingers while singing Happy Birthday to You -- twice. Singing it once is not enough time to slough all germs from your hands.
  • Rinse your hands thoroughly. Soap doesn't kill all the germs on your hands. But it does let them slide off under warm water.
  • Take the paper towel out from under your arm and use it to turn off the water. If necessary, use it to work the lever to get more paper towels.
  • Dry your hands. Don't throw the towel away yet; use it to open the door as you leave the bathroom.

6. Keep your hands away from your nose, mouth, and eyes.

The flu is spread by droplets given off by infected people as they cough, sneeze, or share household items. You get these germs if you get these droplets in your nose, mouth, or eyes. However, most flu bugs are spread when people touch droplet-contaminated surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth.

7.  Maintain good health habits.

Get plenty of sleep. Eat a well-balanced diet. Take time to relax each day so you manage your stress. Exercise regularly for optimal health. Be happy!

What's the Best Way to Prevent the Flu?

The No. 1 way to prevent the flu is to get a flu shot. But if you have unvaccinated people in your household who are at high risk of flu complications -- children younger than 24 months, adults over 65, or people with chronic diseases or severe asthma -- you may want to see a doctor about flu drugs or antiviral drugs. Antiviral drugs are about 70% to 90% effective in preventing flu, but only if taken soon after exposure.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Kimball Johnson, MD on July 02, 2012

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