As we approach the holiday season, we also come into the dreaded flu season (‘flu’ is the shortened term for influenza). Now is the best time to take measures to prevent from getting (and spreading) the flu.
Prevention of the flu is as simple and easy as getting the flu vaccination; however, it is not guaranteed. Other important things that can help is to avoid close contact with others who have it. Washing your hands frequently with warm soapy water is a plus. Soap and water is—in my opinion—better than antibacterial cleansers. Using too much antibacterial cleanser kills the good bacteria on your skin. But, when soap and water are not available, then it is a good idea to use it.
Good eating and sleeping habits are big bonuses, as an unhealthy diet and irregular sleeping patterns can lower you resistance to the flu. It is also helpful if you avoid touching your nose and mouth. Wearing a mask in public places is also a great idea. Note, however, that in Western countries, people don’t use masks. In Japan, many people gargle; again, in Western countries, brushing your teeth, gargling or spitting into a public sink is impolite.
In the event that you do get sick, please see a doctor as soon as possible and then please stay home. Being out in public helps to spread the disease. If you have to sneeze or cough, do so in your upper arm or shoulder. Also, I think it is a good time to buy new toothbrushes. You should change them about every 6 months anyway. Family members putting their toothbrushes near each other is an easy way for the bacteria to transfer, and when your family member brushes their teeth, they can get infected.
Many people get confused about whether they have the flu or just a common cold. The biggest difference is: with the flu, you will have a high fever, headache, extreme muscle aches, and extreme fatigue.
Please take care, so that you may enjoy a wonderful holiday season.