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.