Written on January 22, 2013 at 9:45 am , by Lauren Cardarelli
“The flu” has turned into quite the buzzword lately with reports of a record high season and shot shortages. A few of our favorite stars even spoke of feeling under the weather last week at the Golden Globes while others were sidelined from the event altogether. “Meryl Streep is not here tonight,” funny gal Amy Poehler announced. “She has the flu—and I hear she’s amazing in it.”
The epidemic is no laughing matter though with new cases of the widespread illness popping up every day across 47 states. We spoke with Dr. Phillip M. Tierno, Jr., New York University’s Director of Clinical Macrobiology and Diagnostic Immunology, about the virus and the most common germ-infested areas. Don’t stock up on soup and tissues just yet! Here’s all you need to know about battling the bug:
- Inject immunity—if you haven’t already. “A flu shot is probably one of the best things you can do to offset getting sick,” said Dr. Tierno, especially since up to 60 million people will get the flu annually, depending on vaccines! Find a vaccine near you with the HealthMap Vaccine Finder.
- Break the chain of transmission. According to Dr. Tierno, 80% of all infections are spread through contact—both direct (sharing a spoon with a sickie) and indirect (pressing an infected elevator button then rubbing your eye). Since viruses can live on surfaces for months, it is crucial to keep commonly touched spots sanitary. Think outside your typical “wash your hands before you eat” type of cleanliness in terms of personal hygiene. For example, keep clean and dirty clothing in separate baskets. Germs from dirty clothes can transfer onto freshly washed laundry—ew, gross! Read more