Whether your kids brought home a virus or you’re around a coworker who probably should have stayed home, you can start to feel doomed by the looming possibility of getting sick. With flu season now in full swing amid the continued threat of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s normal to stress anytime you hear a person so much as sneeze.
Because flu season coincides with busy holiday months, the threat of getting sick is even worse. We want to do everything we can to prevent the spread of the flu and COVID-19, so it’s helpful to know how long we’re contagious if we do get sick, along with what we can do to prevent the spread of sickness in the first place.
If you’ve got flu questions, we’ve got answers and sanitizers to help you navigate flu season (and COVID) as safely as possible.
Do I Have the Flu, and How Long Am I Contagious?
Just last year, getting sick with a fever, headache, cough, and sore throat almost automatically meant we had the flu. This year, things are different. Is it the flu? Is it COVID? How can we know for sure?
Both flu and COVID-19 are respiratory illnesses that can include the symptoms above along with congestion, fatigue, and shortness of breath. However, the CDC says that a major difference between the flu and COVID-19 is the severity of illness, how soon symptoms present once a person is infected, and how long that person remains contagious.
Unfortunately, the only way to know for sure if you have the flu or COVID is to get tested.
When your child comes home with the flu and sneezes a little too close for comfort, you’re actually capable of spreading the flu before you even see symptoms develop, which could take up to 24 hours. This is why it’s so important to stay home if someone in your family is sick -- the chance of spreading illness to others isn’t limited to people who are coughing and sneezing.
Once you’ve been infected, you’re contagious for up to seven days, possibly longer if you have preexisting health conditions. Even if you’re feeling fantastic and fever-free on day four , you should still lay low and wait the full seven days before returning to work or your other normal activities.
What You Can Do to Prevent the Spread of the Flu
No one wants to be the person responsible for the office-wide plague, but unfortunately, there’s always going to be a patient zero.
The flu mainly spreads via droplets that are released when a sick person coughs, sneezes, or even talks. The flu can also spread from surfaces that are contaminated with these droplets. If a healthy person touches a surface with flu virus on it and then touches their own eyes, nose, or mouth, they can become infected.
You can do your part to prevent the spread of the flu virus by following a few simple precautions:.
Get vaccinated. It’s your first line of defense. The CDC recommends a yearly vaccination for healthy individuals six months and older. Flu vaccines are even more critical this year -- our already overtaxed hospital systems won’t be able to handle COVID and the flu.
Stay home when you are sick. When you aren’t feeling well, your body needs rest, so stay home so you can get better faster while lowering the risk of infecting those around you.
Practice good respiratory hygiene. This flu season, you will likely be wearing a mask the majority of the time you are around other people. Regardless, always sneeze and cough into your elbow. If you happen to cough into your hands, wash them with soap and water as soon as you can, or use hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available.
Wash your hands and/or use hand sanitizer. On that note, aside from getting a flu vaccine, washing your hands is your strongest line of defense against catching and spreading the flu. Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to get them 99% germ-free.
There are going to be instances when you can’t wash your hands, and that’s when hand sanitizer has your back (err--your hands). Keep a bottle in your desk, your car, backpack, and purse -- our hand sanitizer is small enough to stash practically anywhere.
Both the CDC and the WHO state that a hand sanitizer is only effective in removing germs and bacteria from your hands if it contains at least 60% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. The FDA has also warned against hand sanitizers that contain methanol, a wood alcohol that is toxic to humans.
Thankfully, we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible to get clean, affordable hand sanitizer at the Sanitizer.com marketplace, where all sanitizers are vetted to meet CDC and WHO guidelines for safety and effectiveness.
Sanitize surfaces. In addition to keeping your hands as germ-free as possible, aim to sanitize frequently touched surfaces several times a day to prevent the spread of germs. Smart phones, tablets, keyboards, and countertops are all high-traffic surfaces that can collect germs.
Good news -- you don’t need to lug around a giant bottle of disinfectant to get the job done. That convenient little hand sanitizer spray you’ve got stashed in your pocket will work to sanitize surfaces as long as it contains at least 70% isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. Simply spray the surface and allow it to dry, it’s that easy.
What Kind of Sanitizer Do I Need?
If you want a hand sanitizer that’s capable of double duty (sanitizing surfaces and hands) you need one with at least 70% alcohol. Unfortunately, some hand sanitizers that contain this amount of germ-busting alcohol can also leave your hands feeling dry, which is uncomfortable to say the least.
We include glycerin on our ingredients list to make sure no matter how many times you need to sanitize your hands during the day, they’ll never feel dry or chapped.
Along with that, our hand sanitizers contain just four simple ingredients that give you everything you need to sanitize and nothing you don’t:
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen peroxide
- Purified water
The best part? Our hand sanitizers will always be available and affordable. No price gouging, no buy limits, and no hoarding necessary.
Whether you go for a monthly subscription so you always have just the right amount of hand sanitizer your household needs, a single purchase of 24 little bottles for a special event, or just one bottle at a time if you don’t want to commit just yet -- we’ve got you covered.
Flu season is here. Plus with a pandemic, getting the supplies you need to keep the flu at bay might be a little tougher than usual.
Don’t stress. Let the team at Sanitizer.com help you keep yourself and your family safe and sanitized through the flu and beyond.