Montano: Wash your hands of whole flu situation
- Nov. 14, 2012
- 3 Comments
It happens every year and without any type of warning. Well, other than the warning signs from the guy coughing all over everyone in class, the girl too busy on her phone to cover her sneeze or the added stress of the semester that breaks down your immune system. All signs point to the flu.
The movie “Contagion” really did a number on me. It got me thinking about all the different places where germs lurk and to also buy a full-body hazardous material suit or at the very least, a face mask.
According to the Simmons College Center for Hygiene and Health, dorm room refrigerators contain twice as much bacteria than a dorm room toilet handle. Desktops can contain almost 400 times the amount of bacteria than the average toilet. You might be thinking, “Should I just stay in the bathroom because that’s my best option if I want to avoid germs?” No; just wash your hands.
The Centers for Disease Control says the most simple, most effective way to ward off diseases and germs leading to the flu is to wash your hands. I always wash my hands but not long enough. Your hand washing should last as long as it takes you to say the alphabet in your head, or say it out loud – whatever works. After you dry your hands, use the same paper towel to open the door and leave feeling clean. We’ve all seen the guy that turns on the faucet or opens the door with a paper towel. He’s on to something. What about the guy that leaves the bathroom without washing his hands? Well, he’s just doomed.
And don’t forget about getting your flu shot. I ask my friends and they typically say the same thing. “I’m not getting my flu shot because I don’t want to get sick.” Like an episode of “MythBusters,” I’m here to say that is a myth. Yes, the flu shot contains actual strains of the viruses but it’s killed bacteria. The risk of getting the flu from an actual flu shot is minimal. I’m not a doctor, though I might look like one if you see me on campus with my facemask trying to stay healthy, but ask your doctor for side effects.
Lastly, this goes to all student body: If you are sick and have a fever, do us all a favor and stay home. I got the flu pretty early this year and I’m confident I know the class I was sitting in when I, along with other classmates, were hit with cough after cough of spewing mucus from a sick person. Even if your fever is gone, it’s advised to stay home 24 hours after your fever subsides.
People do not just miraculously get the flu. It’s through human contact and it could be the person you’re standing or sitting next to right now. Overall, your best defense is to wash your hands and avoid touching your face throughout the day. While the movie “Contagion” left us with the horrific statistic that the average person touches their face between 2,000 to 3,000 times a day, it hasn’t been proven. Still, I’d be conscious of anything that could get you sick. If you see me on campus with a facemask, you know why.
Montano is a senior majoring in journalism from Topeka. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMontanoME.