Preventing the Spread of the Flu

It’s flu season in Nebraska. Are you experiencing high fevers, cough, body aches, headache, runny nose or a sore throat? If you do, then you have an influenza-like illness. As of this writing, we are not yet in peak flu season, but we will be soon. The spread of the flu can be prevented, however.

The time a person is exposed to influenza until the time they start showing symptoms is, on average, two days. This means that those who have caught the flu are contagious about one day before they even start to show symptoms! From then on, an infected individual will be most contagious on days 3-4 of illness and can spread the virus for 5-7 days following symptom onset. Influenza is most commonly spread from droplets when a person coughs, sneezes, or is talking. Although not as common, influenza can also be picked up from hard surfaces such as counters, doorknobs, or other objects where the flu virus can live for up to 48 hours. To help combat this, wipe these surfaces down often with an antibacterial cleaner.

There are additional precautions that can be taken to help stop the spread of influenza. According to the CDC the most important step in flu prevention is getting a flu vaccination. During the flu season, these can usually be found at your local pharmacy or primary care clinic. If you’re unsure about getting one, don’t hesitate to call and ask your pharmacist or doctor about the benefits and risks. Another daily precaution to take that will help you avoid getting sick is your washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds multiple times a day. As said before, daily cleaning of hard surfaces with normal household cleaners is generally enough to get rid of the virus in your home. While you may feel you need to, washing walls, ceilings, and fumigation is typically not necessary. If these precautions don’t work, though, and you or a family member has been diagnosed with influenza, it is important to stay home for 24 hours after you are fever-free to help keep it from spreading even further.

To learn more specifics on cleaning, disinfecting, sanitizing and flu prevention strategies to keep your family healthy, please visit the CDC’s website, or call your nearest Twin Rivers Urgent Care for more information!