The flu is still going strong, just as Mardi Gras season gets underway.
And when you consider how flu germs are spread, it makes you wonder if you can go to the parades and somehow avoid getting sick.
According to a Mobile County Health Department news release, "people with flu can spread it to others up to about 6 feet away. Most medical experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Less often, a person might also get flu by touching a surface or object that has flu virus on it and then touching their own mouth or nose."
Here's what the Mobile County Health Department recommends:
• Get vaccinated (MCHD has given 2,031 flu shots from October 1 through January 31);
• Try to avoid close contact with sick people;
• While sick, limit contact with others as much as possible to keep from infecting them;
• If you are sick with ILI, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone for 24 hours without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.)
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue or your sleeve when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it;
• Wash your hands often with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub;
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Germs spread this way;
• Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs, such as parade barricades.