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Tips to avoid getting the flu

By Rachael Plath, Meteorologist, r.plath@krdo.com
Published On: Jan 22 2013 03:58:34 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 22 2013 07:10:03 PM CST

Experts said vaccinations are the best defense against the flu, but people can take some additional precautions to lower their risk of falling victim to the illness.

The flu is infecting many across the nation, and doctors say they expect the flu season to last for longer this year than usual.

Experts say the best defense against the flu is getting vaccinated, adding that it is not too late to get the vaccine.

Bill Letson, medical director with El Paso County Public Health, said hand washing is also key to staying healthy.  El Paso County Public Health recommends washing hands for at least twenty seconds.  Letson said while antibacterial soaps help, the most important thing to do when hand washing is to scrub both hands together.

For more information on proper hand-washing techniques from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, click here.

Letson advises those who are unable to wash their hands with water frequently to carry a bottle of hand sanitizer, using it often.

He said those who are concerned about the flu can use sanitizing sprays or wipes to disinfect desks, doorknobs, computer keyboards and similar items used often.

“Infectious agents that circulate, especially viruses, are usually incubating before you have symptoms.  You’re usually transmitting before you have symptoms,” said Letson.

Avoiding items that are handled by others, such as pens at the checkout counter or magazines in the waiting room, can also reduce the risk of illness.  Try bringing your own, rather than using what is provided.

Letson also said it is a good idea to carry travel bottles of sanitizer and sprays if traveling, ensuring first that they are permitted through security.

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