Joplin, MO- The basic strategies to avoid the flu this winter aren't a surprise. Freeman Infection Control Officer Anny Davy said, "Flu shot and hand washing... and cover your cough."
The challenge is to stick with the those goals every time. Davy said a few seconds with soap and water isn't enough. "You need to wash your hands for 15 - 20 seconds and that's actual scrubbing with the soap. If you use alcohol hand product, you need to use at least a 60% alcohol based product."
But if you've just gone to the bathroom or your hands are visibly soiled, stick with soap and water. And if you don't cover your cough or sneeze, there are consequences. "If you think about when someone sneezes, the particles, droplets go out about 3 - 6 feet then drop to the floor. So the droplets are pretty large, we expel them pretty forcefully," according to Davy.
So use a Kleenex - and disinfect high use surfaces on a regular basis. "You know any high touch area such as doorknobs, light switches in the homes, things that you handle a lot. Phones, cell phones - people use a lot of cell phones, remote controls." And don't forget to get a flu shot. The experts now recommend them for any patient more than six months old. And FluMist is also available for those who don't like shots, recommended for patients aged 2 - 49.