Got the Flu?

Cautions Dunbar students can take to remain healthy during flu season.

As the seasons begin to change, Dunbar students may find themselves more prone to contracting illnesses, meaning that the flu season is approaching. In order for the high school environment to remain healthy, students should take the following precautions to prevent the spread of contagious illness. 

First off, one of the most common attempts of prevention is the seeking out of a medical professional to administer your flu shot. Receiving the flu shot can not only prevent whoever is administered from contracting the illness, but it can also protect surrounding people. However, the flu vaccine is not always as effective as people may hope. According to The University of Chicago, the design and production of the shot may be the reason behind why the vaccine can have low effectiveness some years. “Sometimes the flu strains chosen for the vaccine are a poor match for those that end up circulating in the public…”

In light of this fact, Dunbar teens should take further action to ensure they have taken maximum precautions. The washing of hands is an excellent form of prevention. According to Tri-County Health Care, “Nearly 80 percent of illness-causing germs are spread by your hands.”

It is important to use soap and water, not hand sanitizer. Hand sanitizers do not eliminate all germs, may not prove effective on hands covered in grease or dirt, and have the potential to cause alcohol poisoning if consumed. Hand soap, on the other hand, washes off all germs and chemicals. However, if soap and water are not available, using a 60% alcohol-based hand sanitizer is the recommended substitute. 

Even if the steps of maintaining clean hands are taken, it is very important to keep your eyes and mouth away from the contact of your hands. Germs are spread with extreme ease from hands to face. The human hand houses an average of 2 to 10 million bacteria. The interaction between hands and mouth can allow for the transfer of any of these bacteria, which can eventually lead to the contraction of illnesses. 

Another way to prevent the flu, and spread it, is by covering your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing. Many unwanted illnesses, such as the flu and whooping cough, are spread by uncovered coughing and sneezing, along with unclean hands. 

Along with the practice of healthy habits, maintaining your immune system can serve as a protective barrier against illness. Daily exercise, the consumption of fruits and vegetables, drinking fluids, and averaging 7-9 hours of sleep nightly, are a few ways individuals can give their immune system a boost. Those who suffer from immune system disorders, such as asthma and allergies, can benefit especially from these precautions. 

Weather change and the spread of illnesses, such as the flu, are inevitable. However, preventative measures can be taken to ward off the contraction of a sickness. Hygienic habits, such as clean hands, covering sneezes and coughs, and avoiding contact between hands and mouth, along with maintaining a healthy immune system can arm high school students with protection against viruses.