How to protect yourself from the Flu

The more we go to the doctor’s office or hospital, the bigger the chance of us getting sick/sicker.

The reason for this is obvious: people go to the doctor when they are sick, so by visiting the doctor’s office we are more exposed to viruses and bacteria and those that transmit diseases such as the Flu.

Nowadays, many doctor’s offices and hospitals have hand sanitizer dispensers and face masks for the public to use freely, but we should not rely on those items to stay germ-free.

As soon as you clean your hands with the hand sanitizer and grab your purse or wallet that was leaning on the sign-up window, you will have contaminated yourself again. And worse yet, you’ll be bringing all of those germs along with you, into your home.

Face masks are for the people who think may have a cold, or the flu, or any other respiratory diseases, and are asked to wear those masks not to pass anything on to others. But… are you going to rely on the good will of a total stranger to save you from getting sick?

And then you may think: well, you can wear the mask yourself, to protect yourself. But… those masks have been there in the open, getting contaminated by everyone who passes by them, day in and day out. Are you really going to put that right on your face?

So what should you do to avoid getting sick during your visit to the doctor?

  1. Avoid going to the doctor during “sickness season” – if you are not sick but your yearly physical is up, why choose to go during Flu season? Chances are that you will end up with a cold, or even the flu, a couple of days later.
  2. If you have to go, bring YOUR OWN face mask – this way you can be certain that your mask is not contaminated. Put on your mask before even walking in the hospital or doctor’s office. Be proactive. All pharmacies sell those masks.
  3. Bring YOUR OWN hand sanitizer – every time you touch anything at the doctor’s office, sanitize your hands. This means pens, clipboards, seats, etc. We can NOT count on the hospital’s staff to spray air sanitizer after every patient who walks through the doors.
  4. Be careful in the bathroom – washing our hands in any public facility is NOT enough. People that are sick touch the door handle and also the water faucet. So you use the bathroom, wash your hands carefully and thoroughly, then you touch the faucet to close the water and touch the door handle to open the door for you to get out of the bathroom. Did your hand washing effort matter at all in the end? No. Instead, wash your hands, leave the water running, wipe your hands dry and THEN close the faucet with a hand towel. With the same hand towel, open the bathroom door and dispose it in a trash can outside the bathroom.
  5. Clean up! – Many people choose to take a shower before going to the doctor. My advice to you is: take a shower as soon as you return home from seeing the doctor! And also, throw your clothes in the washer. You don’t want any germs roaming around your house, do you?

I hope that these tips will help you stay safe and healthy throughout this Flu season. I would consider doing everything I mentioned above not only at the doctor’s office, but everywhere during the Flu season when the chances of someone contaminating others is high (Flu peak season goes from Dec-Feb).

Stay safe, and be proactive, guys!

In Health,

Gabriela Brandao.

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