As we head into winter and towards the holiday season, good hygiene and good health become even more important to help prevent the spread of germs and illnesses, in particular the season's dreaded flu virus.
To find out more about attitudes to flu and why the majority of Americans did not get flu shots in previous winters, The Harris Poll surveyed 2,225 US adults between October 14 and 19, 2015.
The results, published during Influenza Vaccination Week (December 6 - 12), show that almost one-third of Americans (32 percent) do not think a flu shot will help them to avoid catching the virus, with many (42 percent) not taking the flu seriously at all. However of those surveyed, seniors (those 70 or over) are the most likely to believe in the effectiveness of flu vaccines (75 percent) and are also one of the groups most at risk.
When trying to avoid the flu, few Americans had clear tactics in mind, however many did agree that the following can help prevent sickness during the winter season:
- Washing hands frequently (69 percent)
- Being well rested (63 percent)
- Maintaining a healthy diet (54 percent)
- Taking vitamins (37 percent)
- Using hand sanitizers (37 percent)
In addition, half of those surveyed (51 percent) said they limit their contact with children during the flu season, 48 percent dress appropriately for the weather to avoid getting sick, and 35 percent avoid public transportation.
And of those that do catch the virus, 66 percent try to keep going, still heading in to work, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendations that those with the flu should stay at home to rest and help prevent infecting others.
- How to prevent the flu this season -
As well as receiving the flu vaccination, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following good habits to help prevent the spread of the flu virus.
1. Avoid close contact with those who are sick.
Avoid close contact with people who have the flu, and when you are sick keep your distance from others to help prevent them from also getting sick.
2. Stay home when you are sick.
If possible, stay at home from work, school, and running day-to-day errands to help prevent spreading the illness.
3. Cover your mouth and nose.
Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing to prevent the spread of germs.
4. Clean your hands.
Washing your hands often with soap and water will help protect you from germs and stop them spreading. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Germs are can be easily spread when a person touches something that is contaminated and then touches their eyes, nose, or mouth.
6. Practice other good health habits.
Frequently cleaning and disinfecting surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill, helps prevent the spread of germs and illnesses. Also look after yourself during winter, get plenty of sleep, exercise, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.
© AFP/Relaxnews 2023