It’s that time of year again – flu season! You don’t want the sniffles, coughs, or aches that come with the virus. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that about five to 20 percent of the population gets the flu, but more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from complications. Try these tips to prevent getting sick.
Wash Your Hands
The CDC says that about 80 percent of infectious diseases are spread by touch and physical contact. Flu germs can live on surfaces for hours, so if a sick person touches a doorknob or table, the object becomes infected. Other people come along and touch the same item, and then unknowingly touch their eyes, nose, or mouth, and they become sick, as well.
Washing your hands often and thoroughly can prevent contamination and spreading. Use warm water and soap to scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. If a sink is not available, an alcohol-based hand sanitizer will help disinfect the germs on your hands.
Cover Your Face
Flu germs are also spread through the air from coughing and sneezing. The infected germs get into the air and can be inhaled by other people. To prevent spreading the virus, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you sneeze or cough. It’s important to put your used tissues in a trash can, not on the floor or table. If a tissue is left out, it can contaminate the surface.
If you’re healthy, try to keep a distance from people who are sick.
Protect Your Body
When you’re sick, you probably feel like lying in bed all day. It’s good to make sure your body is fully rested, but also try to stay active to keep your immune system strong. Stay home as much as possible while you’re sick to avoid infecting others. Maintain a balanced diet to keep your body and mouth healthy. You should also drink plenty of water. Try to eliminate stress and keep your body relaxed so you can recover as quickly as possible. Also, don’t forget to keep practicing good oral hygiene behaviors to keep your teeth healthy. Keep brushing and flossing daily to get the harmful germs out of your mouth.
Bacteria can easily be spread by sharing dishes, toothbrushes, and towels with other people. Sharing things that go in your mouth is never a good thing for oral health, but especially if you’re sick, so make sure the items you use won’t be picked up by someone else. Try using paper products, such as paper towels, to dispose of after you’re done. In addition, to protect your own future health, replace your toothbrush and towel after you’ve been ill to avoid being re-infected with the virus.
If you’ve had a cold or flu, please call Dr. Kobak at least 24 hours in advance to reschedule your appointment. The flu germs can live in your mouth for 24 hours before you start showing symptoms, and 24 hours after symptoms stop. After you’re fully recovered, you should schedule an appointment with Syosset Dental in Syosset, NY to make sure no infections are living in your mouth.