Flu season in NYC has finally arrived.
And, with more than 8.6 million people living in the city, that’s 8.6 million chances you can come in contact with someone who has been infected.
But, with the holidays approaching, deadlines looming, and festive plans increasing, no one has time to get sick.
The flu doesn’t care about any of those things though. It doesn’t care that you have three Thanksgivings to attend. It doesn’t care that you have a big, career-altering presentation coming up. And, it certainly doesn’t care about the big Thanksgiving Eve rager you’re hosting.
If you’ve ever had the flu, you know how debilitating this virus can be. It starts slow, but before you know it you’re dead to the world. You can’t stand. You can’t speak. And, you can’t eat.
All you can do is lie there and wait for the storm to pass.
But, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t things you can do to stop the spread of the influenza virus. I know it might seem inevitable and impossible to prevent this viral infection from attaching itself on you.
However, there are a few things you can do. Preventing yourself from getting the flu isn’t impossible. You just have to be prepared.
And, here are a few precautionary steps you can take to ensure you don’t end up out of commission for a week…
6 Ways You Can Prevent The Spread Of The Flu In NYC
1. Get Vaccinated
According to the Centers For Disease Control And Prevention (CDC) everyone over the age of six months should get a flu shot.
Every year, the flu shot changes. And, that’s because different strains become more prevalent. And, doctors are constantly growing and evolving their techniques to ensure that people are as protected as possible.
The CDC also encourages people to get vaccinated early on. So, now is the perfect time to get your body ready for the virus-infected season ahead.
This year, the flu vaccine was created to prevent the following strains of the virus:
- A/Michigan/45/2015 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus
- A/Singapore/INFIMH-16-0019/2016 A(H3N2)-like virus
- B/Colorado/06/2017-like (Victoria lineage) virus
Getting vaccinated is the best first step in preventing yourself from getting the flu and passing it along to others. This shot helps to boost your immune system and prepare your body for the germs that will be floating around in the air.
If you don’t get the vaccine, you’re more likely to get the virus and give it to someone else. So, it’s better to endure a few seconds of pain than a week’s worth of illness and discomfort.
2. Wash Your Hands Constantly
Washing your hands consistently can reduce your risk of contracting a respiratory infection by 16 to 21 percent.
That makes it a great way to stay safe during flu season.
And, the best part is its simplicity. All you have to do is spend less than a minute washing your hands with soap and warm water. It will drastically reduce your risk of getting the flu.
Similarly, when you consistently wash your hands, you are reducing the possibilities of spreading the flu to friends, family, and coworkers.
It’s a win-win. And, it’s easier than adding money to your MetroCard!
3. Keep Your Distance From Those That Seem Sick
Another smart practice to keep in mind is the act of taking space. If someone in the office or at home seems sick, be cautious and keep your distance.
It might be the flu. It might not. But, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Not that you have to ostracize them — but just make sure to steer clear of any wayward coughs, sneezes or infected surfaces. This will lessen the likelihood that you get sick and pass it onto others.
It might seem hard to keep your distance in the city. You have to ride the subway and use the same handrails, and breath the same congested air. But, as long as you’re taking care of yourself and putting as much space as possible between you and those showing systems, you should be in the clear.
4. Keep Yourself, And Your Space, Clean
While washing your hands is important, washing the rest of your body and keeping your space clean is equally valuable.
This means wiping down counter tops and surface in your home with disinfectants to ensure that any bad bacteria is quickly killed.
It also means bathing regularly and practicing proper hygiene habits.
And, when at work, it’s important to keep your space tidy and clean. It’s easier than you think for someone to swing by your desk or office, touch a few surfaces, and leave behind unwanted sick germs that can have you racking up sick days by the end of the week.
5. Avoid Touching Your Eyes, Nose, And Mouth
The flu spreads by entering into mucous membranes in your eyes, nose, and mouth. So, avoid touching, rubbing and brushing up against them with any object or even your hands.
Germs spread rapidly. And, when you touch these areas, they get an immediate fast track into your system. And, it will make it even harder for your body to protect itself and fight off the infection.
Use tissues regularly. Wash your hands. And, avoid putting fingers in your mouth, hands on your eyes, and so on.
This will make it harder for flu germs to enter your body and wreck your upcoming plans.
6. If You Are Sick, Stay Home
At the end of the day, you just might get sick. It’s a sad fact and one you have to be prepared for.
But, if you want to ensure that this sickness doesn’t spread, you just have to stay home.
And, that might really kill you inside. But, the fact of the matter is that if you try to push yourself, you’ll only do more harm than good.
You’ll make it harder for your body to fight off the infection. And, then you’ll put others at an increased risk for contracting the virus as well.
A few days of rest, relaxation, and plenty of fluids is better in the long run than trying to be a hero and push through the pain.
If you have the flu, just take some time to ride it out. Your body, your family, and your coworkers will thank you.