2013 Flu Outbreak: How Can You Avoid Getting Sick?

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The flu is a little different every year, but prevention always works the same way. Image by Fvasconcellos

The flu is a little different every year, but prevention always works the same way. Image by Fvasconcellos

The 20012-2013 flu season is the worst it’s been in a decade and Friday, January 11, 2013 it reached epidemic proportions. The rate of influenza-like-illnesses is normally 2.2 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but this year, doctor’s offices are seeing rates of 4.3 percent for the week ending in January 5, 2013, which is down from 6.0 percent. The proportion of deaths associated with influenza and pneumonia was 7.3 percent which is just above the epidemic threshold of 7.2 percent. So how can you avoid getting the flu and what can you do when you do get it?

2013 Influenza: Prevent The Flu by Washing Your Hands

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure – but how can you prevent getting the flu?One of the most effective ways of preventing the flu is by washing your hands. Practicing good hand hygiene can help protect you and others from getting sick.

There are multiple times during the day in which you should wash your hands, but did you know that there is a right way to wash up? The CDC says that you should wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – as long as it takes you to sing Happy Birthday twice. Then, use a clean towel to dry your hands or let them air dry. If clean water and soap is not available and your hands are not visibly dirty, then you can use hand sanitizer containing 60 percent alcohol, which is needed to kill the germs.

Cover Up to Avoid Flu Infection

Covering your cough (and encouraging others to cover their cough) is another way to help prevent the spread of the flu. And you guessed it, there is a right way to cover your cough. Coughing into your elbow will keep the germs from landing on your hands. You can also cough or sneeze into a tissue, but be sure to wash your hands immediately.

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