Everyday Tips to Help Prevent the Spread of Respiratory Illnesses

February 27, 2020, 6:43 PM HST
* Updated March 1, 8:51 PM
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We are in the middle of flu season and with growing concerns over the spread of respiratory illnesses, here are a few things that you can do to help prevent the spread of communicable diseases with your own everyday actions. Here are the top recommendations by the CDC.

    1. 1. Wash your hands. Wash often and with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Get between your fingers and under your nails. Be sure to dry your hands well afterwards.

2. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.

    1. 3. Stay home when you are sick. If you must go out in public, wear a mask to catch the droplets from your nose and mouth. The World Health Organization also recommends covering coughs and sneezes with flexed elbows or tissues. If you use a tissue, dispose of it right away.

4. Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using household cleaning sprays or wipes.

5. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

When it comes to travel: A 2018 study by biostatistician Vicky Hertzberg at Emory University, found that while traveling the best way to minimize contact with other passengers was to sit in a window seat and stay put. The CDC recommends keeping a distance of about six feet from anyone with a respiratory illness like the flu or the new coronavirus. In the course of her research, Hertzberg also found that planes use high-efficiency filters that constantly bring in fresh air and recommends pointing the overhead air vent toward your face to both minimize the spreading of your own germs and maximize the circulation of air around your face to keep you from getting sick. On airplanes, keep hydrated, wipe surfaces, bring hand sanitizer and make sure you are well rested before your flight.

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