4 ways you're increasing your chance of getting the flu

4 ways you're increasing your chance of getting the flu

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Flu season is a nightmare for many of us.

The flu can cause miserable symptoms like fever, chills, body aches, nausea, sore throat and loss of appetite. The flu can also put you out of commission for up to two weeks, which is an eternity during the chaos of the holiday season. Even with these terrible symptoms and long recovery time, many of us are still making ourselves vulnerable to this awful virus--and we may not even know it.

Let’s take a look at a few ways we make ourselves more susceptible to the flu virus.

You skip hand washing

If you regularly skip washing your hands after using the restroom, especially at the office or in a public place, you’re putting yourself at risk of catching the flu.

Think about how often someone in your office coughs or sneezes and doesn’t wash their hands. Think of the hundreds of people who touch the elevator buttons, doorknobs, or surfaces in your office. These and many others are opportunities to transmit the flu virus. Regularly wash your hands throughout the day to get rid of any accumulated germs and reduce your chances of catching the flu.

You use the wrong hand sanitizer

Antibacterial hand gels and hand sanitizers are tremendously popular with moms and other germ-conscious adults. And it’s easy to see why. You don’t need a faucet, running water, or soap to kill those pesky germs on your hands. Unfortunately, not all hand sanitizers do a sufficient job of killing the worst bacteria and viruses.

A hand sanitizer with an alcohol, isopropanol or ethanol content below 60 percent won’t do much against the most stubborn airborne viruses. Check your hand sanitizer’s alcohol content. If it’s below 60 percent, switch it out for a product that has more powerful germ-killing ingredients.

You’re a night owl

If you regularly get fewer than eight hours of shut-eye a night, you might be increasing your risk of contracting the flu virus.

Sleep deprivation depresses the body’s immune system, lowering your defenses against nasty viruses and germs. The effects of sleep deprivation on your immune system worsen if you work the late shift

You spend time in nursing homes, schools or daycares

People age 65 and older are more likely to contract the flu virus than adults under 65. Similarly, children and babies are more likely to contract the flu virus than young and middle-aged adults.

If you’re a teacher, daycare worker, or nursing home employee, you know how rampant sickness can be during flu season.

If you work at or regularly visit a nursing home, school, or daycare, you might want to get your flu shot early and be extra vigilant about frequent hand-washing. Even with constant hand-washing, getting plenty of sleep and being careful around your sick loved ones, the flu can still creep in.

It’s important to have a game plan in place if you do find yourself battling the flu. A preferred medical doctor or clinic is a great resource for those times when you’re unexpectedly sick.

Paris Community Hospital is proud to be that resource for thousands of individuals in Paris, Illinois and beyond.

Check out our Services page to learn more about what we do or contact us today to find out how we can help you!