COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The flu outbreak is getting worse across the country and right here at home.
According to the Ohio Department of Health, influenza-associated hospitalizations right now are about three times higher than the five year average for this time of year. The average is about 600 cases and right now there are nearly 1,800 cases.
“If some people start taking measures to make sure that the flu doesn’t exist and then that immunity can be transferred to the others around you,” said OSU professor of public health Allard Dembe. “People need to know that it’s a serious public health issue.”
Dembe said preventing the spread of the flu is all about being diligent and using common sense.
He said getting a flu shot should be your first step, as well as frequently washing your hands and covering your cough.
But, there are plenty of things people might not think about like sanitizing faces or washing your hats and gloves.
“Flu viruses can live 48 hours after being deposited on a surface,” said Dembe. “The CDC for instance (the Center for Disease Control and Prevention) suggests that you let your cleaning solution stand for 3-5 minutes so that it becomes really clean.”
He said to make sure to sanitize both at home and work. You should also be aware of surfaces that someone carrying the virus may have come into contact with like door knobs, elevator buttons, computer keyboards, faucets, phones or children’s toys.
“You don’t want to be infecting others. You don’t want to be spreading disease,” said Dembe. “You want to cut it off as soon as possible, so it doesn’t really become a more extensive epidemic than it already is.”