We are going have to use our common sense to fight the flu this year. The 2017-2018 flu vaccine is only 30% effective.
Medicine is not an exact science. This year’s flu vaccine represents last spring's best educated guess as to what strains of influenza would be most prevalent this flu season. Unfortunately this year’s vaccine appears to be an unlucky guess. At Olden’s Pharmacy we are seeing more people than predicted getting sick.
Reason to panic? No. Time for facts not guesses? Absolutely.
Three flu facts (not guesses) that lead to common sense flu prevention.
#1. Viruses are thought to spread mainly from person to person through droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. A person can be contagious 24 hours BEFORE they are symptomatic and for a few days after they return to work or school.
- Beware of the “close talker.” Step back from the person with whom you are having a conversation.
- In close quarters, like the subway, cover your nose and mouth with a light scarf.
- Use a tissue to rub your eyes, nose and mouth, and please throw it away, instead of sticking it your pocket. Then wash your hands!
- Don’t greet with a hug, kiss or handshake. Simply say “I might be coming down with something." It’s the truth - you just might be!
#2. Viruses, like the flu, linger on surfaces. We've all seen the Lysol commercials. Problem is, no one is spraying Lysol in public.
- Wear your driving gloves as much as possible when in public.
- Sanitize the grocery cart before shopping.
- Carry your own pen to sign, especially at the drug store. (We sanitize our pen in alcohol at Olden’s but you can’t be too careful.)
- Door frames and door knobs are covered in germs. Hence the gloves.
- Keep your pocket hand sanitizer handy.
#3. Low humidity causes dry nasal passages. Dry nasal passages are more susceptible to cold and flu viruses.
- Humidify your bedroom and TV room.
- Use saline nose drops if your nose feels dry.
- If you are flying, traveling by train, bus or subway where the air is dry and germs are rampant, consider wearing a mask/scarf.
- If a scarf or mask makes you feel foolish, moisturise your nose with some saline drops and drink water constantly. It’s worth climbing over your seat mate for the restroom to not get sick.
This year the odds are higher than last year of catching the flu. Remember the three facts, use common sense practices, and accept Olden's wishes of good health. Armed with science, common sense, and good luck, you are ready for a healthy flu season.