Nobody wants to get sick, but when winter comes it seems inevitable that many of us will suffer from the inconvenient and dangerous cold and flu seasonal influenza. People with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose.
What can we do to protect ourselves? A few simple practices can help, they are keys to staying healthy in cold and flu season:
Key 1 Hand Washing Important to Stopping Cold and Flu Viruses
- Now that the cold and flu season is upon us, perhaps one of the easiest and most overlooked activity that can reduce the spread of the culprit germs is frequent and through hand washing. While you are at it, just use plain bar soap and rub vigorously for at least 20-seconds. Regular bar soap works well by loosening dirt, oil and microbes so they can be rinsed away. It is not necessary to use any of the antibacterial products available.
- The Mayo Clinic’s official hand-washing guide explains:
- Keep in mind that antimicrobial soap is no more effective at killing germs than is regular soap. Using antimicrobial soap may even lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to the product’s antimicrobial agents – making it harder to kill these germs in the future.
- The problem with antimicrobial cleaners is that they leave a surface residue after being rinsed or wiped off. This residue is supposed to continue killing bacteria afterward, but it can also foster the growth of resistant bacteria, which are stronger than the original bacteria.
- Triclosan, a common ingredient in antimicrobial soaps and hand sanitizers is a probable human carcinogen, according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and has been linked to miscarriages, bladder cancer, thyroid problems and impaired cellular function. Triclosan, also known as Microban, has been found in breast milk and exists in 60 percent of American waterways, which opens a pathway for potential contamination of food.
So remember to wash your hands well and frequently – and just use regular bar soap. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
Key 2 Air Purification Important to Fighting the Spread of Cold and Flu Viruses
An effective air purification system at home can play an important role in your flu-fighting strategy. IQAir’s highly acclaimed HealthPro® Plus HyperHEPA® air filtration systems are unequalled in removing the smallest airborne contaminants from the air in your home including viruses and bacteria.
Scientists say the size of the average flu virus is 0.08 to 0.12 microns (or 80-120 nanometers). For comparison, it is interesting to note that a single strand of human hair is about 1,000 times greater in diameter.
IQAir’s HyperHEPA filtration system is tested and certified to filter more than 99.5 percent of all particles as small as 3 nanometers. The IQAir HyperHEPA filter in the HealthPro portable air purifier has been certified as H12/H13, meeting the standards of operating rooms and microbiology labs.
Tests conducted by leading universities have demonstrated that air filtration systems can be effective in removing the influenza viruses from the air.
Keys from the CDC – Additional measures to help stop the spread of colds and flu include:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way.
Linens, eating utensils, and dishes belonging to those who are sick should not be shared without washing thoroughly first. Eating utensils can be washed either in a dishwasher or by hand with water and soap and do not need to be cleaned separately.
In addition, frequently touched surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at home, work and school, especially during flu season. (create link to Purifiers on Web Page)