Three Things That Limit Your Risk of the Flu

Flu shot
Flu shot Photo by Hyttalo Souza on Unsplash

California-based emergency medicine physician Dr. Zachary Lutsky spent 12 years as an attending physician at a level 1 trauma center at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Board-certified in emergency medicine, Dr. Zachary Lutsky maintains a professional interest in a range of public health matters, including the flu epidemic.

Whether you’ve gotten a flu shot or not, there is not 100 percent guarantee that you will be protected from the virus come flu season. However, there are several behaviors that reduce your risk of the flu. Below are a few examples:

Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth
Even if you wash your hands regularly, they won’t remain clean at every point of your day. Because of this, always avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose since these are the areas of your body that most easily absorb germs. This is particularly true when you’re in a public place.

Skip the crowds
Completely isolating yourself from other people during the flu season isn’t realistic, but you should stay away from crowded places as much as possible. Crowded places, particularly places with a large number of the elderly or children, present a high risk of contracting the flu. In situations when you cannot avoid crowded spots, make sure you carry hand sanitizer and keep your distance around sneezing individuals.

Disinfect common surfaces
Computer equipment, phones, and other common surfaces at your workplace are breeding grounds for germs. To limit your exposure, make sure these areas are kept clean and disinfected, and avoid using a coworker’s phone or desk, if you can. At home, regularly clean kitchen counters, bathrooms and any other locations that come into contact with noses or mouths.

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Basic First Aid Following a Gunshot Wound

A former attending emergency medicine physician at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has been practicing medicine for more than 10 years. Over the course of his career, Dr. Zachary Lutsky has managed and treated patients suffered from a variety of traumatic injuries, including gunshot wounds.

Although many people never have to deal with a gunshot wound, knowing a few basic first aid techniques for promoting survival following such an injury is important. As soon as you or someone near you is shot, the first step is to always get to safety and call 911. Once this is done, focus on stopping the bleeding. While gunshot wounds primarily cause internal damage, external bleeding is the only aspect of the injury you can help with if you’re untrained.

With gunshot wounds, the bleeding is typically coming from a hole. Using a clean cloth, gauze, or any other fabric available when a kit is not present, place pressure directly on the wound. For wounds that are deep, pack some of the cloth into the wound. Make sure the entire wound is sealed by the fabric and do not reduce pressure until paramedics arrive on the scene. Further, don’t be scared about using your knee to provide even more pressure if the wound is still bleeding.

In addition to applying pressure directly to the wound, use a tourniquet when the wound is on a limb. Place the tourniquet about two to three inches above the wound and pull it as tight as you can. When properly placed, these devices are usually very uncomfortable and even painful, but they can be essential for stopping the bleeding from a wound. It’s important that you remember to only use a tourniquet when it’s a professional one. Since improvised tourniquets often fail, it’s better if you apply continuous pressure directly to the wound instead.