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Senior Health: The flu. (Excuse me, I did not mean to sneeze on you.)

By , 8:00 am on

Every year, about this time, I wonder about the effectiveness of flu shots versus being hyper aware of watching what you touch, how often you wash your hands and avoiding people with red noses as if they had, well, the Plague.  Since this year’s flu season is expected to last until May, the following research is not too late.

Bet you knew this:

cold and flu viruses are spread by touching mouth, eyes, and nose, but not this: the average person touches their face 15 times an hour.  Yes, they touch their noses about 5 times an hour, but touch their lips even more. Thank goodness.

If you’re like me, you’ve always wanted a stainless steel kitchen because they look so surgically clean and impervious to all the messy things we do in kitchens. According to The Journal of Infectious Diseases, stainless steel is a great place for flu virus and other bacteria to hang out for 48 hours. Turns out, the non-porous nature of stainless steel makes the bad bugs love it. Porous things like tissues and cotton hankies cut the life expectancy down to a mere 8-12 hours. Surprisingly, the flu virus only lives about 15 minutes on your hands.

Did you know? You need to stay 7 feet away from someone with the flu to protect yourself.  Through typical actions of speaking, coughing, and sneezing, flu victims spread their infectious germs spread about 6 feet.

Flu quote:

The best thing about getting a flu shot is that you never again need to wash your hands. That’s how I see it.

Chuck Palahniuk, American novelist

Good news for the OCD out there and those who wish to avoid the flu: Even if you got a flu shot, you still need to wash your paws. Actually, there are 4 strains of flu this year.  If you’ve already had the flu, consider these two points: you might be wrong, and had something else, and if you actually did have the flu, it was only one of the 4 strains.  So, you could get flu again.  Be sure to tell Chuck, if you see him.

Hope you are able to avoid all 4 strains of the flu and keep your spirits up. Spring is coming!

Thanks, Centers for Disease Control.

Lee Nyberg writes blogs, sometimes completely serious, and always with the intention to educate others and help them care for the older adults in their lives. Her company, Home Care Assistance, is proud to be a wonderful resource for families and their loved ones.

Home Care Assistance is North America’s premier provider of in-home care for seniors.  Our mission is to change the way the world ages. We provide older adults with quality care that enables them to live happier, healthier lives at home. Our services are distinguished by the caliber of our caregivers, the responsiveness of our staff and our expertise in Live-In care. We embrace a positive, balanced approach to aging centered on the evolving needs of older adults. For more information visit our website at this link: Hourly Home Care Explained.  Or, if you’d like to speak with a Care Manager right away, call us at 402-261-5158.

Photo credit: Swine Flu, by Anil Jadhav,