How to Avoid the Influenza Virus

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The influenza virus is a condition that goes by another name -- the "flu." Find out how to avoid the influenza virus with help from a health expert in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Cold-Weather Sickness Remedies
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Dr. David Hill, and today we're going to talk about how to avoid the influenza virus. Now, obviously you can't see the influenza virus, or when you saw it coming, you just crossed to the other side of the street. That said, it's microscopic and invisible and it is in a lot of places. During the influenza season usually during the cold months of the year. The flu season in many places start in the early or mid fall and last deep into the spring. When we had the H1N1 epidemic, there was even quite a bit of flu in the summertime, which is very unusual. That said, there are some ways to try and keep from getting infected. The obvious ways are to exercise excellent hand washing. Now, you don't want to wash the skin off your hands or take this too far, but really during the flu season, after you've shaken somebody's hand, or touch them, it's not a bad idea to have a little bit of alcohol based hand sanitizer or just use plain soap and water. It does not have to be anti-bacterial soap, and clean your hands off because the hands are the most common way to transmit the influenza virus. Now another way that it's transmitted is when somebody coughs. You can't do anything about it, but you can ask the people around you or teach children in your environment to cough into the crook of their elbow. Why here? Because then it doesn't get on their hands. They cough on their ands, they're going to give it to you, we're back to that whole hand thing. Now the most important thing that I can tell you today is please, please, please get the influenza vaccine. Unless you have one of the rare medical reasons that you can't get the vaccine, it is really important to get it. I cannot emphasize this enough. The vaccine is safe, it is effective for the vast majority of people who get it, no vaccine is 100 percent effective, some people think it causes the flu, it does not cause the flu. Now the inhaled nasal vaccine is a weakened form of the influenza virus, and you may get some mild symptoms, but it doesn't cause the sort of severe flu. That is the best way to keep yourself form getting badly sick, hospitalized, or even dying of the flu, which does cause 36,000 deaths in the United States in an average year. So, hand washing, coughing into the crook of the elbow, and most importantly, influenza vaccine. Talking about how to avoid the influenza virus, I'm Dr. David Hill.

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