With the new Wuhan Corona virus circulating in China, the fear of contracting any kind of virus right now is pretty high. Here are some tips for you and your family to get through flu season successfully.

1) Know your immune system

The flu virus (as well as the new coronavirus) can infiltrate our immune systems and wreak havoc. By disguising their DNA as our own, these viruses can replicate very quickly and cause severe symptoms. If you are over the age of 50, have a weakened immune system for any reason, (could be diet, smoking, or other infirmity) you would be wise to get a flu shot. This will help build your immunity to the virus so if you do contract something, the symptoms should be milder. Those that are very young might want to also get a flu shot, as severe symptoms from the flu can compromise a young immune system as well. It should also be noted that for younger persons, a severe flu could also result FROM a flu shot, so if your child already has reactions to foreign bodies, chemicals, smoke, food or breathing allergies, the risks should be weighed against the upside when considering a flu shot.

2) Wash your hands

Washing your hands throughout the day, especially after using a bathroom or other public facility, will cut down on the transmission of cold viruses and bacteria tremendously. This very basic thing goes a long way towards prevention. As most viruses lay on moist surfaces waiting to be picked up by your skin and then rubbed into your eye or other mucous membrane, washing your hands (or at the very least using hand sanitizer in a pinch) can help prevent you from getting sick. Also avoid using other people’s phones, tablets, or computers as these are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria.

3) Wear a Mask

At the time of this writing, trying to find a p95 or higher mask that can be delivered via Amazon Prime is almost impossible. Most cheaper masks are sold out or won’t ship for weeks. You could try your local hardware store, but make sure it’s rated p95 or higher. A basic surgical mask will not do enough to protect your sinuses and lungs from these viruses. Even the p95 to p100 masks technically can’t filter out the tiny virus particle, but they can filter out the moisture that could be carrying the virus (like from a cough or sneeze). These filters also cut down on the inhalation or smoke and other harmful contaminants that you may come across while traveling.

4) Stay away from mass transit

Being stuck inside an airport, subway terminal, bus station, or their subsequent methods of transportation, you will be breathing in recirculated air exhaled by passengers from parts unknown. In this day and age, traveling from China to the United States or Europe can be done very quickly by almost anyone. Someone with a virus in another country could bring it you your state in the matter of hours; or another city, town, etc. If you avoid these mass transit terminals in the first place, you will be protecting yourself from inhaling or touching unwanted viruses and bacteria. If you must travel, wear a mask!

5) Stay away from unsanitary places

This should go hand in hand with the point above, however even sanitary places like hospitals should be avoided, as that is literally where all the sick people are. Stay away from fast food restaurant bathrooms, bar and night club bathrooms, open air food markets, flea markets, music concerts, anywhere large amounts of people gather and might not wash their hands or clean up after themselves: stay away!

6) Stock up on supplies now

As noted in point 3 above, if you wait until the panic has already set in, you are too late. You should already have a good mask, surgical gloves, extra food and water, toilet paper, anti-viral natural remedies (like L-Lysine), powdered milk, powdered mashed potatoes, dry goods like pasta, ramen noodles, etc…in case of a food emergency or mass panic. Once panic sets in, you have very little time to acquire supplies and you will have to fight with hordes of people (who might already be infected) to get food and water. The time to stock up is before the crowd. But if you do have to fight it out in the stores for supplies, wear a mask and gloves!

7) If you do get sick: Use Flonase and other mucous reducing medications, and quarantine yourself.

Fluticasone Propionate, or Flonase, can cut down on the mucous irritation you may get if you do get sick. These nasal sprays are far safer and more effective that Afrin or other powerfully medicated nasal sprays, and Flonase is non-habit forming. Mucinex or Guaifenesin is another fantastic medication to thin out and get rid of mucous, which is the primary way these viruses spread. If you do get sick, try to treat yourself at home first. Wipe off all doorknobs, switches, and latches (like the handle on the toilet) with Lysol wipes. Spray down and high traffic areas with Lysol spray. Drink plenty of fluids and get rest. Stay home from work or school. If you have a fever, take Tylenol or if you have a fever + headache you can take Excedrin, but be away it contains Aspirin. Make sure you are washing your hands to cut down on the chance others who live with you get sick. If you do need additional care, try going to urgent care rather than the ER of a hospital. You will be seen faster and you won’t clog up the ER so they can take care of higher priority emergencies. Follow up with your doctor if necessary.