Whatcha Gonna Do? Bad Bugs and Three Things You Can Do Right Now To Stop Them

Cartoon image of the flu.
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As a biohazard cleaning company, Aftermath cares about your health. This is why we’ve adopted February as Biohazard Awareness Month. This week, we’re examining the viruses and bacteria that lurk in body fluids, what we call biohazards, and how these bugs can contribute to serious disease and illnesses.

The influenza virus, commonly known as “the flu,” has been a topic of serious discussion this year due to its virulence. Many cases have been reported where people have been sickened multiple times; others have suffered for weeks, and many were hospitalized.

As you may already realize, the cold and flu are very different. Though they are both caused by viral infections of the respiratory tract, the flu is caused by influenza A or B viruses. Flu appears most frequently in winter and early spring and attacks the body by spreading through the upper and/or lower respiratory tract. Though often it feels like flu season is an inevitable part of the year, there are some steps you can take to lessen its impact on your family. We’ve broken some of the basics down into three main points so they’re simple to implement. 

Be Aware and Prepare

Probably the most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to avoid places where you are likely to come into contact with the virus and take extra precaution when in those spaces. Daycares facilities, schools, and other places where children are present are often the biggest factor in the spread of the flu, but it’s also common in crowded places where people are close to each other.

Churches, theaters, and recreational events are some of the things that keep us connected to our community. Avoiding them all is impossible and frankly undesirable. However, we can limit our exposure to bad bugs during flu outbreaks by making wiser choices about our health. Eating well, sleeping well, and taking a short time to destress can help improve our immunity, even in situations where those closest to us are sick.

What You Can Do: If you’re suffering from a weakened immune system, consider working out at home instead of going to the gym, and avoiding the mall or airplane travel during peak flu season. Pay attention to your health and diet and be sure to boost your immune system.

If you must help care for someone who is ill, doctors advise the use of face masks to limit breathing in the virus. Masks can be up to 80% effective when used properly. Finally, be sure to disinfect surfaces regularly throughout an outbreak, deep clean all laundry (especially towels and bedding) and follow up with a deep cleaning after the illness has passed. Here are some great tips on what to clean following an outbreak of the flu in your home.

Don’t Touch!

Some of the filthiest things in our environment are things we come into contact with every day. Computer keyboards, cell phones, bathroom towels, door handles, and shopping carts are some of the biggest germ factories. According to an article in Time Magazine, studies have found that one in six phones is contaminated with fecal matter, even though a simple swab with a disinfectant wipe is enough to clear away that icky residue. 

What You Can Do: Because it’s impossible to avoid contact with germs in the environment, avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth, which are the pathways for diseases looking to enter the body. Wash hands often, especially after coughing or sneezing, but also before touching food, after using the bathroom or handling anything that has been handled by others, who might be ill. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based sanitizer. 

STop the spread

The most difficult part about the flu is that you can be contagious and asymptomatic, meaning that you will not exhibit signs of illness until it’s too late. Remember that foods like Emergen-C, apples, tea, and orange juice that can help lessen the severity of sickness. The sooner you can start taking steps toward boosting your immune system, the sooner you will recover. Also, even if you have been sick once, you can still get sick again. Viruses mutate, which allow them to reinfect you after you’ve built up an immunity to one strain.

What You Can Do: If you suspect you are sick, do your friends and co-workers a favor and use up those sick days. If you have to work, let co-workers know to keep their distance and limit your interactions as much as possible. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, and maintain a 6 foot distance from others to reduce possible spread.

Finally, no matter how late in the season, flu shots are a great preventative measure. They are by no means 100% effective, but they can help you dodge certain strains of the flu or lessen the duration of an illness should you get sick. Still on the fence about flu shots? Read this article, which debunks many of the myths associated with this important vaccine.

Aftermath Cares About Your Health

Remember that the most common signs of influenza are high fever, severe body aches, headache, tiredness, sore throat, cough, runny or stuffy nose, and vomiting and/or diarrhea. If you have trouble breathing, racing heart, pain, confusion, or an inability to keep fluids or food down for extended periods of time, the situation could be serious and the Red Cross advises that you seek immediate medical care.

As a biohazard cleaning company, Aftermath technicians are dedicated to helping families recover from all types of biohazard situations, including outbreaks of contagious illness. If you feel like you can’t get on top of the situation and defeat the flu virus in your home or place of business, consider giving the professionals a call. We’ll help you give your home or office a fresh start to a healthier year.


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