When Germ Warfare Invades Your Home: Reducing The Spread Of Influenza

According to the CDC, vaccination is the most proactive step that you and your family can take toward the prevention of influenza. Since the effectiveness of the flu vaccine varies from season to season and from person to person, someone in your household may still contract a strain of the influenza virus. Once the virus is in your home, following a few caregiving and housekeeping guidelines will reduce the risk for infecting other family members. 

Protect the Caregiver

If one of your loved ones has contracted the flu, assign one family member to tend to the patient’s care. This individual should be someone who has been vaccinated against the virus and who does not fall into one of the higher risk categories, which include the elderly, very young children, pregnant women and those with heart or respiratory conditions. Each time the designated caregiver needs to care for the patient, the following precautions should be practiced:

  • Wear a new pair of disposable gloves.
  • Wear a new disposable surgical mask.
  • The caregiver should avoid touching his or her face.
  • Once the patient is taken care of and cleaning tasks are completed, remove and dispose of the gloves, and then wash hands thoroughly.

Protect the Family

One room should be chosen in which to isolate the sick family member. Set the patient up in this room with everything that he or she will need, and establish a house rule that no one else is to enter that room or interact with the patient for the duration of the illness. Some things to provide the patient within this room should include the following:

  • A box of tissues
  • All medications that the patient will be taking
  • A thermometer for monitoring the patient’s body temperature
  • Disposable drinking bottles of water and other fluids
  • A large wastebasket that is lined with a trash bag for disposing of used supplies, such as tissues

If there is more than one bathroom in your home, assign one bathroom to the patient and instruct all other family members to use only the other bathroom.

Route of Transmission

Influenza viruses are released into the environment in two ways. First, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, aerosolized droplets travel as far as six feet away. Secondly, when an infected person touches his or her mouth, nose or eyes, surfaces that they subsequently touch become contaminated with the virus. Influenza germs can survive on objects and surfaces for two to eight hours, and a patient remains contagious for five to seven days after his or her flu symptoms first appear. Instruct the patient to sneeze or cough into a new disposable tissue and not into his or her hand, and the patient should refrain from touching his or her face. The caregiver should wipe down objects and surfaces frequently to kill as many germs as possible.

Cleaning Objects and Surfaces

Use a disinfecting cleaning solution that is approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for effectively killing influenza virus A. Alternately, you can mix one-quarter of a cup of chlorine bleach with one gallon of warm water. Remember these potential hot spots when you make the cleaning rounds:

  • Light switches and doorknobs
  • Faucet handles, toilet seat and flusher handles
  • Bathroom vanity and kitchen countertops
  • Surfaces of bedside tables and dressers
  • Remote controls and telephones

To reduce cleaning tasks, serve all of the patient’s meals on paper plates and in disposable cups, and provide plastic cutlery. Disposed of these items after each meal.

Cleaning Linens and Textiles

Linens that are used by the patient should be gathered each day to be laundered and then dried on a high heat setting. These items include:

  • Bedding materials
  • Towels and washcloths
  • Clothing

In addition to carrying out the aforementioned care and cleaning tips, remind everyone in your home to wash their hands frequently, eat a nutritionally balanced diet, minimize stress and get plenty of rest to help you and your family stay healthy. 

For further assistance, contact a local medical clinic.

3 Science-Backed Ways To Naturally And Effectively Reduce Your Hot Flashes

According to Cleveland Clinic, the most effective and only FDA-approved therapy to treat hot flashes is hormone therapy. However, some people are unable to get hormone therapy, possibly due to costs or even trying to make the time to schedule that consultation. In some cases, you may just want a natural alternative to hormone therapy. Whatever the case may be, there are plenty of other ways that you can help ease the symptoms of hot flashes so that you can live your life as normally as possible. Read on to learn more.

1. Try a Cup of Sage Tea

Sage tea has been recommended for hot flashes by herbalists for year. Dr. Oz has recently came on board as well. According to various studies, sage can not only reduce your symptoms of hot flashes and nighttime sweats, but it can possibly eliminate them all together. If sage tea isn’t up your alley, consider growing your own sage bush in your garden and using it as a tasty addition to your dinner.

2. Shed a Few of Your Unwanted Pounds

Just about everyone wants to lose a little bit of weight, and if you’re suffering from hot flashes, that may be just the motivation that you need to get to the gym or to break the treadmill out of the cobwebs in the basement. According to research, losing weight can potentially help ease your hot flashes. For the best results, you will need to lose at least 10 percent of your current body weight, although 10 pounds will help you see an improvement.

3. Up Your Intake of Vitamin E

There is a positive link between reducing hot flashes and vitamin E, according to the results of one study. The study consisted of 54 patients who took a placebo vitamin for four weeks, followed by a week of wash out, and then took a vitamin E softgel cap for four weeks. The patients saw a significant difference in the frequency and severity of their hot flashes with the vitamin E pill. Therefore, at the end of the study, the conclusion was drawn that the vitamin could indeed help treat hot flashes in menopausal women. Some good sources of vitamin E include sunflower seeds, almonds, cooked spinach, pumpkin, red peppers, swordfish and mango.

It is always helpful to know what can cause hot flashes to occur. Cleveland Clinic says that hot flashes can be brought on by spicy foods, caffeine, alcohol, smoking, hot weather, tight clothing and even stress. Take the time to determine what triggers your own hot flashes and attempt to avoid them. For more information on dealing with health issues specific to you as a woman, make an appointment with a gynecologist.

3 Ways To Help Your Child Get Through Immunizations

One of the less enjoyable experiences associated with being a parent is taking your child to get his or her immunizations. Even though a large number of children handle the experience with ease, some fare less well. Here are some tips to help you and your child get through their next set of immunizations with as less stress possible. 

Talk to Your Child Before the Appointment

Your child is much more aware of your emotions than you probably think. If you are projecting fear and stress about the upcoming appointment, your child could pick up on it and possibly develop those same feelings. When you are discussing the upcoming immunizations with your child, stay calm and try to avoid using buzz words, such as “pain.” 

You should be honest with your child, but try not to add to any anxiety they are feeling. For instance, if your child wants to skip the appointment altogether, remind them that the immunizations are needed to stay healthy and to go to school or daycare. 

Plan to Distract Your Child

The time filled in the waiting room at the pediatrician’s can often be just long enough for your child to develop a sense of doom about the immunizations. By the time they are called into the examination room, your child could be in full panic mode. 

To help prevent this from happening, take along toys, books, or other favorite items to distract your child. Talk to your child while waiting about their favorite subjects. If there is a television in the waiting room, encourage your child to watch the programming. Do anything you can to keep your child’s mind off of the immunizations. 

Comfort Your Child Throughout the Experience

When it is time for your child to get the immunizations, try holding them close to you. This helps to accomplish two tasks. You can provide comfort to your child throughout the experience, and you also ensure they are being steady while the pediatrician administers the immunizations. 

If you have a snack or other treat available, offer it to your child when the immunizations are over. A piece of candy or other favorite snack can be an easy distraction for your child.

Eventually, your child will most likely outgrow feelings of anxiety as they age. Until then, do everything you can to help them to relax throughout the experience. Contact a local immunization services provider for more information.