Flu season is upon us. Millions of Americans will receive flu shots, but just because you’ve been immunized doesn’t mean you won’t catch the virus.
The Centers for Disease Control states that it can take up to two weeks after vaccination for antibodies to develop in the body that protect you against the flu virus. Even then, you may still contract influenza. But experts still urge everyone to be vaccinated. Ironically, one of the places where you are at risk of being exposed to the virus is at the clinic.
Any place people gather can expose you to the flu, and that certainly goes for health care waiting rooms. Although most are thoroughly cleaned every day, people who already have the flu may leave behind pathogens between cleanings that will make you sick, so be aware of the risk when you go for your flu shot.
“Most facilities do a good job of cleaning and disinfecting their waiting areas, but the flu virus and many other illnesses can be spread through the touch of a door, magazine or pen,” said Steve Zimmerman, director of health care services for ServiceMaster Clean, one of the nation’s leading cleaning and janitorial services providers.
If you find yourself in a waiting room, here are some tips that can minimize your exposure to pathogens:
1.) Put down the magazine
Magazines are nearly impossible to disinfect once they have been contaminated. Bring something else to read while you’re waiting.
2.) Bring your own toy
Children have more susceptible immune systems, so let your children bring a toy with them when they visit the doctor.
3.) Use caution in the bathroom
Restrooms are home to the most pathogens. If you must go, avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and thoroughly wash your hands.
4.) Write smart
Think about how many hands touch ink pens in health care facilities. Bring your own and eliminate the possibility of sharing germs.
5.) Think before you drink
For many Americans, coffee is a must. If you pick up a coffee pot, wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after you pour a cup.
6.) Wash your hands frequently
Get in the habit of washing several times a day using anti-bacterial soap and warm water.