If it seems like everyone you know has the flu, well, you're right. The Center for Disease Control released data on Friday that shows just how widespread the influenza virus is already this season. Whether you're just getting over the bug or trying to prevent it, here are some precautions you should take to keep your home healthy.
The CDC data shows that flu cases spiked rapidly in the week before Christmas, and is now widespread in 36 states.
The uptick is partially attributed to the cold weather sweeping the nation, but also the efficacy of this year's vaccine. Jennifer Radtke, manager for infection prevention at the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville tells USA Today:
"It's just one of those years where the CDC is seeing that this strain of flu is only somewhat covered by the vaccine that was given this year. They're seeing that it's anywhere from 10% to 33% effective, so any time there's a mismatch between the vaccine and the circulating strain of the flu, you're going to see more cases."
Since the flu vaccine isn't hacking it for your hacking cough, here are some other ways to help prevent the spread of the virus in your home.
The virus can live on hard surfaces for up to 24 hours, so be sure to regularly wipe down these items:
- Remote controls
- Light switches
- Faucet handles
- Refrigerator handle
- Your phone
- Your keyboard/mouse
- Tables and desks
Also be extra vigilant with towels, sponges, and rags, since any damp surface is a breeding ground for germs. If you have a dishwasher, choose to disinfect dishes in it rather than washing by hand.
It goes without saying, but washing your hands thoroughly goes a long way.