It’s flu season (once again), but this year, the flu bug is particularly vicious. Health experts say the influenza season is more severe than usual. Many more people are sick with the flu compared with the same time last year. Medical experts report that the dominant strain of influenza, H3N2, may be more resistant to treatment while the flu vaccine is less effective against it. It might be time to consider more extreme methods to avoid the flu bug. Here are my recommendations on how to avoid becoming a victim of the flu:
1. Avoid touching your face, particularly your eyes, nose or mouth. I know you have all heard this, but if you’re like me, as soon as someone tells you to not touch your face, you get this overwhelming urge to do so. The best way to not touch your face is to wear gloves. Latex gloves are fine, but you may want to use something better like mittens or boxing gloves (I prefer the 16 oz. gloves). A hasty solution if you don’t have gloves is to use duct tape around each hand. Be careful not to tape your hands together. Another hasty solution is to wear handcuffs. Cuff yourself with your hands behind your back. If you absolutely must touch your face, use a back scratcher.
2. Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. This is another preventive method I know you already know. Don’t use your hand or you will have the virus on your hands. This is another time that the gloves come in handy. I know you’ve seen people sneeze or cough in their elbow. If you have trouble reaching your elbow, use someone else’s elbow. Coughing into your knee is better, if you can pull it off.
3. Wash your hands. Soap and water can only go so far. Using alcohol-based hand sanitizer is better, but you might not have that available. In a pitch, try sticking your hands in a fire or place them on the stove. If you can microwave your hands – even better. Ultraviolet light can kill the flu virus. Therefore, get plenty of sunshine or go to a sun tanning salon. Sand blasting also works.
4. Avoid shaking hands, hugging or kissing. If you still must touch, as in the case of significant other or family, try the popular chest bump. If that isn’t your style, then use the hip bump or the butt bump. A technique that is gaining popularity is the elbow touch. (avoid the Eskimos nose kiss) Whatever works.
5. Don’t touch anything. Flu viruses can be spread by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the mouth or eyes. (See above about wearing gloves.) The best technique is to avoid touching anything. Wrap yourself in several layers of clothing, bubble wrap or duct tape. The best thing to do is to lock yourself in your home starting in September and don’t come out until May. Hey, bears do it.
6. Avoid people, especially people who are sick. Well, duh! If you must leave home, then avoid people – all people. That will eliminate the problem of shaking hands, hugging and kissing. You must also avoid birds, swine and Russians.
Please stay healthy this year and get a flu shot.
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