How To Avoid The Flu

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Whether you've been vaccinated, plan to be, or won't be, you can help stop the flu germs from spreading.

Face it: the flu could be anywhere.

"A lot of the places we could come in contact with the flu are places in which you're going to be with crowded people," MSU Assistant Professor of Infectious Diseases MaryAnn Tran, M.D., said.

That means your office break room, a daycare, the gym are just some places full of potential flu germs, even when cleaning rules are posted.

"We ask them to wipe them down, after they use them ... a lot of time they don't," Planet Fitness Instructor Connie Marsh said.

Doctors say keeping shared spaces clean can be difficult because the germs are constantly showing up, but little things can help.

"Have tissue available for someone to cover their cough or sneeze, it's good for these places to also have hand sanitizer," Dr. Tran said.

Planet Fitness is throwing their weight into cleanliness this flu season. The staff is cleaning the equipment with sanitizer at least once a day, and making sure the members do the same while also using the handy Purell dispenser.

"I think that everyone's stepping up just a tad bit with it being flu season just to protect themselves and and everyone else, but yea, I'm doing my part," Yasmin Flack said.

Washing or sanitizing your hands is helpful, but the top of the faucet can be a very dirty place. Doctors recommend using the paper towel you use to dry your hands to also turn off the water.

"It's been shown to prevent the spread of infection, whether it's the flu or other germs," Dr. Tran said. "So, those little things do help."

Dr. Tran said it's especially important before touching your face, eating, or lifting weights.

"We don't want to get sick, I know other members don't want to get sick," Marsh said. "So just use common health practices."

Doctors say if everyone just started washing their hands a little more, it could slow the outbreak, and keep it from getting as bad as many experts anticipate.

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