All Articles Tagged "flu"
Don’t Let The Back And Forth Weather Mess You Up: How To Sick-Proof Your Life When Those Around You Stay Ill
Board any train in the city, and you’ll notice that there are more people sneezing than standing –and if you know anything about public transportation, you know that’s a lot of people. In addition to the sneezing, there’s the sniffling, the snot, the coughs and a lot of phlegm. The inconsistent snowy-to-sunny from 50 to 30 degree weather hasn’t made things easier for us or our immune systems, and if you’re living like me, neither does your landlord, because he only turns on the heat sometimes. The battle to stay healthy isn’t a battle that you’re fighting alone, though it might seem that way. You’re not the only person who’s contemplating how many ounces of hand sanitizer you can fit into your handbag or calculating the distance between yourself and the man with the ambiguous cough. If you’re healthy, and you’re trying to stay that way, or you’ve been touched by sickness and it’s not something you want to get fully acquainted with, you might want to follow these steps, so you can sick-proof yourself and your life.
Scarves: There is a time to be fashionable and there’s time to be functional. Lucky for you, scarves facilitate both desires. Aside from being one of hipster’s go-to accessories, scarves do a great job of keeping your chest protected from the cold. An added bonus with scarves is that, with an additional raised wrap of the scarf, you can cover your mouth –and improve your chances of remaining healthy.
Common spaces/utilized items: Beware of faucets, door knobs, pots, pans, televisions, television remotes, window sills and etc. This doesn’t mean that you need to slip on a pair of gloves each time you touch something in your apartment, but be vigilant. If your sickly roommate is fishing through the silverware drawer or the TV remote is looking extra grimy, then do yourself a favor and wash whatever she puts her hands on and give that remote a once-over with a Lysol wipe.
Napkins: These little gems are not only valuable when you need to blow your nose, but offer one to your disgusting train-riding neighbor. The fewer germs they spread is better for you and the entire city. Also, when you’re on the train or bus, and you don’t want to put your hands on those germ-y poles, simply place a napkin in your palm, and shield yourself from whatever diseases are trying to sneak themselves into your hand.
Avoid your lover: At least in my experience, the people who will betray your health first are the ones who you love. Be it with a tongue tussle, a peck on the cheek or a prolonged hug, it’s just that easy for their sickness to become your sickness. And while it’s easily said that you don’t care if you get sick in the midst of a passionate embrace, you’ll feel differently when you’re projectile vomiting into your kitchen sink because you couldn’t make it to the bathroom. You can certainly continue to spend time with your sweetie, just try the “hands off” approach.
Wash your hands: Hand sanitizer is all fine and dandy, but if you really want to keep the sick away, put soap in your hands, wash, and repeat. It’s proven that soap and water is much more effective at keeping you healthy.
Wash your bedding: If you’re getting over being sick or a sick person has been in your sphere, make sure that you’re washing anything that might be contaminated. It’d suck if you’d successfully navigated the city, keeping yourself healthy, only to fall victim of germs that have been nesting on your pillowcase.
Sanitize your keyboard/cellphone: Most people forget about their computers and cellphones when considering what length to go to in order to stay healthy. We touch our keyboards and cellphones more than we touch anything these days, so it’s important that we keep them clean, after all, you don’t know who else might be touching your keyboard when you’re away.
Vitamin C & Ginger Tea: Everyone knows that Vitamin C is usually what the doctor ordered. It’s an essential nutrient, has antioxidant activity and is a natural antihistamine. And, Ginger is a short term relief for nausea, can prevent the flu, and can relieve stomach aches.
Lactaid-Free: Steer clear of the milky stuff when you’re trying to stay healthy. Dairy encourages the production of mucus. Ewww.
Shower an hour before you head out: There’s nothing like that fresh and clean feeling, until that tidy feeling leaves you ill because you’ve caught pneumonia. Make sure you allow yourself enough time to properly dry off, so you don’t end up singing the “I’m so sick” blues.
“I have sinuses/allergies”: This may make me sound like a paranoid nut, but I tend not to believe a sneezy person who tells me that they have sinuses or allergies. Somewhere in my mind, I feel like they’re simply trying to keep me from fearing their sickness. My advice, treat them how you would treat any other sick person. Run.
The Centers for Disease Control made it official late last week: the flu outbreak has reached epidemic levels with 47 states reporting flu activity and 4.3 percent of outpatient visits attributed to flu symptoms. The threshold to reach epidemic level is 2.2. percent.
So this is bad news, right? For most people, yes. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that job absenteeism spikes during flu season, and this is the worst in a decade. According to sources speaking to The Wall Street Journal, businesses will lose billions because of this situation.
But not everyone is complaining. Ad Age reports that, unsurprisingly, companies in the cold and flu relief area are booming. Reckitt Benckiser, makers of Mucinex and Delsym, and Johnson & Johnson, which counts Children’s Motrin and Tylenol among its brands, are among the companies in this space that have seen an eight percent rise in sales.
And with efforts to avoid getting sick at a high, Lysol, Clorox, and other disinfectant brands are getting a 22 percent boost.
As we’ve previously reported, the best way to stave illness is to get vaccinated. But only 40 percent of Americans have done so for a variety of reasons, some good, some bad. The New Yorker cautions that even if you’re one of those people who refuse to get the vaccine, keep in mind that if you do get sick, you can pass it on to the most vulnerable in your family — children and the elderly. Or if you choose not to get it for yourself, perhaps you should press for members of these demographics to do so. As many as 45,000 Americans die every year from the flu. (!) Twenty people nationwide have died already, including six-year-old Tahlia Johnson, who’s funeral is pictured above. According to AP Images, it’s not certain whether she was vaccinated.
We did a little more digging to see if there’s anything more — anything at all — that companies can do to help employees. Unfortunately, the much-discussed hand washing and vaccination suggestions are really the only things we could find. Although this article suggests that companies can go an extra step toward bringing vaccinations to the office on a special day, making it available to anyone interested. With billions in losses at risk, it might be worth the trouble.
At this point, everyone knows someone who’s is or has suffered from a bad case of the flu. Boston has declared a health emergency because 700 cases have been reported and 18 people have died. More than 40 other states are also seeing widespread flu infections. Politicians have been all over Twitter telling people to get vaccinated. And the CDC is expected to issue an update today for what is already being called “one of the worst flu seasons in years.” And we’re only at the start of it.
Last year was a light year for flu cases, so this year’s spike has got everyone scrambling (and coughing, and sneezing…). There are different strains of the flu and, reports TIME, we’re lucky that the vaccines that are available this year match the prevalent strain that’s making everyone sick. The best advice is get vaccinated.
According to Reuters, Sanofi is the largest vaccine provider in the US and they’re already working on next year’s batch (the vaccine is different from year to year). So if you haven’t been vaccinated and would still like to be, it’s not too late, but you might have to do some searching.
For children, there are some shortages as well, but, on top of that, there are also shortages of Tamiflu, the medicine given to children who are already sick. “In the meantime, pharmacists can make a substitute by dissolving Tamiflu capsules in a sweet liquid, according to a spokeswoman for Roche’s Genentech unit, which makes Tamiflu,” the article says. Even with the shortage, Reuters says that Roche, the makers of Tamiflu, will see a business boost as a result of the high demand.
Also, be aware that if you want to make a trip to the hospital, they’re also overwhelmed by the number of patients. Those with loved ones admitted for other reasons may also find visitor restrictions as hospitals take steps to protect patients whose immune systems are weakened.
Even if you take measures to keep from getting sick, you still have to be around other people at work. The workplace can be a virtual petrie dish of germs and sickness. The CDC says, besides the vaccine, lots of hand washing and avoidance are the way to go to protect yourself. “[S]o if you work in an office, embrace your social anxiety issues and shut the door,” writes Bloomberg Businessweek. If you’re lucky enough to have a job where you can telecommute from home, that’s also an option.
Rihanna was forced to cancel her concert at the Malmo Arena in Sweden yesterday after she was hospitalized. Fans were concerned after she tweeted an image of her arm with an IV in it, but luckily it’s just a case of the common flu.
The “We Found Love” artist apologized to her stans in a statement:
“I am sorry to everyone who was coming out to my show in Malmo, Switzerland. I was so excited to perform for you all.
“It would have been a great time… so much better than being sick with the flu, ugh! I’m really disappointed I couldn’t be there.”
Hopefully she’ll be back on her feet soon—well wishes!
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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