While you’re at it, wash your hands

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Flu cases are on the rise this time of year, and while some are all a-flutter about gearing up for “one of the worst flu seasons ever,” I think we can all agree that any season in which you or any person you have to be in close proximity to gets the flu is the very definition of the worst flu season ever.

Washing hands is one of the central ways to combat transmission of flu virus.Washing hands is one of the central ways to combat transmission of flu virus.

Fact is, flu happens year-round. It becomes more virulent and prevalent in colder or more inclimate months because people are more centralized, and tend to spread their respiratory droplets around on surfaces and to each other, in a nice, warm, crowded environment, which also happens to be a fantastic nursery for little baby viruses.

Here’s a quick synopsis of flu information from the CDC website.

Flu is a virus, which is different from a bacterium in that it needs a living host to multiply.

Flu is thought to be spread mainly by droplet transmission, such as through coughing or sneezing, and can be spread up to 6 feet from the infected individual.

Symptoms (fever over 100.4 Fahrenheit, aching muscles, especially in your back, arms and legs, chills and sweats, headache, dry, persistent cough, fatigue and weakness, nasal congestion, sore throat) can begin to occur one to four days after the virus enters the body, and can continue to be contagious for five to 7 days after diagnosis.

Flu is a respiratory illness, and is sometimes difficult to distinguish from bacterial respiratory illness with symptoms alone. There are a number of “rapid” flu tests available; results can be had within as little as five minutes with some. More accurate testing takes several hours.

You can prevent flu by not slobbering all over each other and washing your hands frequently.

OK, the CDC doesn’t say anything about slobbering all over the place, but I felt like some of you were bored with the whole thing and I needed to get your attention on the hand-washing thing. Really, wash your hands. Do it a lot. It helps, even the scientists say so.

Nothing special. Warm water and soap, and sing the “Happy Birthday” tune in your head. I actually changed it to my very own “Eat soap and Die” tune, but you might not want to sing that one out loud, because, well, people look at you funny in public restrooms when you’re gleefully singing,

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Eat soap and die
Eat soap and die
Feel the pain of warm water
Eat soap and die!

You can use your own discretion on that one. Be safe out there, and don’t slobber on anyone. And, oh yeah, remember to wash your hands.

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